Affectivity and support from schools and the Church, the main topics on day two of the International Workshop on Family Support

Nieves González Rico, academic director for the Development and Person Institute at Francisco de Vitoria University and of the programme Learn to Love, opened day two of the 1st International Workshop on Family Support, which is being organised by UIC Barcelona from 13-15 May. Holder of an undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Valladolid and a master’s degree in Sexology, González Rico gave a talk about “maturity and affective freedom”. 

According to the speaker, “we can begin to speak in terms of affective maturity when we are capable of assuming responsibility, engaging in dialogue with a view to knowing ourselves better and making decisions that bring us closer to our aspirations for justice, beauty, kindness....” In this regard, she remarked that, since “the heart is intelligent, the key lies in learning to love the circumstance, and to arrive to this point, we need to be supported; we don’t arrive there in spite of our circumstances, but rather because of our circumstances.” Gómez Rico pointed out that it is better to do so “with kindness and gratitude, and not through constant complaints,” and summed up this concept by indicating that the most important part of this support is “to generate a relationship, be astute and establish spaces.” 

Afterwards came the turn of Rafael Lafuente, an expert in affective and sexual education with a degree from the San Antonio Catholic University in Murcia and an instructor in affective and sexual education among adolescents at TeenStar. Also a teacher at the Retamar School in Madrid, Lafuente discussed the way in which the school supports families: “skill-building and training”. 

“It is important to train and encourage both faculty members and the mothers and fathers: to give them the tools they need to weave a network in which the family and school speak the same language and row in the same direction. Family and school must work together.” Lafuente insisted that “people’s happiness depends on their situation at home”, and ironically recalled that “children aren’t brought by storks, but by parents who love each other.”

Today’s events also featured a talk by Juan José Pérez-Soba, member of the teaching staff at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. Author of several research books such as Love Is the Name of a Person, The Heart of the Family and Believe in Love, Pérez-Soba elucidated the manner in which the Church supports families. “When a person is hungry, they know that the Church will give them help. When family relationships become difficult, the Church can also offer attention, support and assistance. It is therefore important to know how to support families in everyday matters,” explained Pérez-Soba.  

Tomorrow will mark the third day of the workshop and will feature a closing address by neuropsychiatrist Mariolina Ceriotti, entitled “Crisis and Rebirth in Couples”.

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