A successful philosophy
We share NPH founder, Father Wasson's leadership philosophy
June 17, 2019 - New Zealand
By Dr. Michael Maccoby.
“In the 1960’s, I worked in Mexico studying to become a psychoanalyst. My work brought me into contact with Dr. Erich Fromm who knew Fr. Wasson and who introduced him to me. Father Wasson asked me to study the children that he had brought in to the NPH Mexico home and together with some of the other analysts we interviewed the children.
“We found that when the children came to NPH, they were often totally depressed and traumatised, however within two years, they had been transformed. Two years on, they had been hopeful, they had a sense of joy, happiness and relationship - it was remarkable.
“I asked Fr. Wasson how did you do that, and he said the following to me;”
The thoughtful words of Father Wasson:
“Well I have developed a philosophy and I think that philosophy works. And the philosophy starts with a purpose.
“My purpose here is to not just to save the children, to feed and clothe them; my purpose is really is to develop them humanly and that means to develop them both as good Christians and also as productive people who will be successful in their own countries and who can be leaders and teachers.
“To do this, to develop the children in this way, I find you have to follow some principles or values that are necessary for that kind of development and they include first of all security.
“These children have to feel totally secure. That we are never going to throw them out. That they can come with their whole family, so their brothers and sisters. And we are not going to let them be adopted either because they are going to be part of a family.
“And security also means education that they are prepared for life that they feel they are being given the tools to succeed. But if you have security you’ve got to balance it with work. Because if the kids were just had everything given to them they can become quite passive. They have to see that they are contributing to the family. So even little children have little jobs. Everybody has a job and when they would graduate from school they will do a year of service and they will help each other.
“And third is sharing. My children have to be caring people. They have to be able to share with others and to care for people outside who need their help. I want them to visit hospitals. I want them to visit prisons. I want them in their prayers to ask God for kindness. And fourth I want them to develop a sense of responsibility and co-responsibility, and that means that they’re not just doing things because of rules, not following some kind of bureaucratic rules. This is a family, they should be acting from the heart. Responsibility means having a humanistic conscious. Responding to others in need, knowing what’s right and wrong and acting to do the right thing.
“This whole family has to be in a sense empowered by love. But by love I am talking about the concept about agape. Agape - the Greeks has different names for love. They have a name eros for romantic love, they have phileo for brotherly love. Agape is the kind of love that God gives us, a deep knowledge of understanding. It is what Jesus talks about when he says, “Love the Lord thy God with all they heart and all thy mind with all thy soul” and love thy neighbour as thyself. It’s what St Paul talked about when he said, love never judges, love is knowledge, love is a deep care and concern of others.
“And when you think about it, that’s the meaning of unconditional love, that empowers this whole family. But on the other hand, you have to open your heart to accept that love. It just doesn’t come. And so the children have to be developed to appreciate that kind of love, that kind of responsibility, that kind of caring that kind of sharing, which is what this powerful philosophy is based upon.”
Acting Director NPH NZ