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The Most Important Lesson

December 19, 2022     By Father Steven E. Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

Boys Town Model, Family, Father Flanagan

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

At Boys Town, we teach the importance of good health and wellness in body, mind and spirit. We teach both social skills and parenting skills, but the most important thing we teach is LOVE. Every day, we plant the seeds of love with the children, youth and families we serve. Our Human Love reflects Divine Love that begins by knowing and understanding one another, having the ability to see the best in others and holding each other accountable to a high standard.​

These are the values and the foundation upon which Father Flanagan built Boys Town more than 100 years ago. This love includes three essential tenets that are the fabric of Boys Town today.

  • Love compels us to reach out to those who are considered by others to be the least, the lost and the lowest.  The rich, powerful and famous are often loved for what they can do for others, but what about the poor, the powerless, victims of the social systems and those who are mercilessly oppressed? We must take the time to know these people; to hear their stories and to try to understand the world from their perspective.
  • Love broadens our understanding of family.  We need to view others as brothers and sisters and to welcome them into our family circle, creating a space where we can see the best in them, and they can see the best in each other. The compassion we show brings help, healing and hope to those in need.
  • Love calls us to take non-violent action to reform corrupt and oppressive social systems that keep people from reaching their potential and using the gifts and talents they possess. We must study the social laws and help the powerless to fight back against injustice without using violence.​

Our philosophy of teaching love is an integral part of Boys Town's mission of saving children and building families. It guides our actions and enables us to make a difference in the lives of others. We welcome those in need into our family, seek creative interventions that change their lives for the better and ultimately, end their suffering and oppression. We feel called, and teach our youth, to fight the social evils of racism, sexism, class and religious bias using non-violent tactics like voting, writing to legislators and educating others. In short, we TEACH LOVE every day.​

As the holidays approach, I encourage you to reflect on the love in your own life and to share it with others.  Join us as together, we can reflect on and renew our commitment to teach love and celebrate the peace and joy it brings in all things.​

Wishing you peace, joy and LOVE this holiday season!

Father Steve Boes

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