By Roxane B. Salonen




St. John Bosco sought ‘the sensitive cord of the heart;’ May the ‘sensitive cord of the heart’ be our aim, too. 


Jealousy gripped my three-year-old heart when my father, who’d been pushing me on the playground swings, offered some children who’d arrived without their parents a push.

It wasn’t the only instance of Dad’s quiet caring for others. An educator who often sought out the forsaken, he likely saw himself in them.

St. John Bosco

Dad would have found kinship with St. John Bosco, who once said:

“In every young person, a point of goodness is accessible, and it is the primary duty of the educator to discover that sensitive cord of the heart so as to draw out the best in the young person.” 

John Bosco had a heart for helping “naughty little boys” find the goodness within. As a younger lad, Dad would have been among them. He often attracted the frustrated attention of the religious sisters at his Catholic grade school in New Rockford, North Dakota, 

I suspect he was, in part, seeking attention. Living through the end of the Great Depression, his mother was frequently alone in managing their household of 11. But we’ve also recently discovered that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) runs in our family. As I’ve mothered my own “naughty little boys,” I’ve wondered if Dad also battled this affliction. 

 Rediscovered Faith

He entered the seminary but left after his mother passed away to pursue teaching, which he abandoned when alcoholism interrupted his life. Eventually, Dad found sobriety, rediscovered his Catholic faith, and became a doting grandfather to our five children before his death at 77.

Reflecting on all this leaves me grateful to those who’ve taken time to seek the “sensitive cord of the heart” in my loved ones who’ve struggled. I see Jesus bending low in these individuals, searching for the lost sheep with love, just as St. Bosco and often my broken father did so well.



Dear Lord, knowing you search out the sensitive cords of our hearts brings so much joy to mine. For I know that even when I, or my loved ones, are misunderstood, you know us through and through and always see the hope within. Thank you for your peering love.

Call to Action:

Who in your life needs you to slow down long enough to search out the sensitive cords of their heart? As you go through your week, try to intentionally bend low as you encounter others to better access their points of goodness. Perhaps you can start with yourself.


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