"How many of them are boys?" People usually want to know when they discover that we have ten children. How many of those children are boy children? Because the higher that particular number is the louder the gasps as a rule. "Six boys? Wow. You must be a saint." I assure you, as can those six, that I am not. However I might suggest there is such a saint we might want to try to emulate in this case: John Bosco. He knows boys. I might be juggling six strapping young men. He cared for hundreds with one devoted woman, his mother. If they could do so well, surely we can do this too.
John Bosco was fatherless himself, having been raised by a widow. He took pity on the street urchins of his day, looked upon with judgement and disgust, kicked to the curb and urged on and away like so many stray dogs. He rejected the idea that genetics dictates character. He sensed that coercion and harsh discipline only bred bitterness and rebellion. He set about to test his theory that change is possible once you gain the affection and respect of your charges. In fact, he was pretty sure that was the only way.
Turns out he was right.
Boys flocked to his oratory which mushroomed quickly and grew into multiple homes and schools which continue to this day to employ his 'preventative system'. What is that you ask? Well it is directly opposed to the repressive system prevalent in his day and we could argue, still in pretty regular use.
"The repressive system consists in making the law known to the subjects, and afterwards watching to discover the transgressors of these laws and inflicting, when necessary, the punishment deserved....
This is the way of peace in the home.