By Olaf Lobo | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 08, 2022

DBL Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

The journey of a thousand miles began with a small step for me on June 15, 1980, as I walked through the welcoming doors of Don Bosco, Lonavala, as a young 12-year-old, Class VIII student.

It immediately dawned on me that in a boarding school, it is mandatory to make friends and interact with individuals to feel like a part of the whole setup. 

It was the good old days when we could not escape human interaction. Back then, there were no smartphones or internet. At that impressionable age, there was a lot we got to learn from this basic human interaction–The importance of self-discipline, honesty, integrity, flexibility in dealing with individuals from different backgrounds and mindsets

Getting into the ‘grind’

The concept of ‘Morning Jobs’ where we swept and mopped all areas of our accommodation, taught us the value of keeping our surroundings clean and the value of hygiene. This helped in taming our inflated egos and realise the importance of even menial tasks. The feeling of accomplishment was felt by being a part of the school band, dramatic and quiz competition teams. 

As we traverse through life’s journey, especially in a boarding school, you can be subjected to bullying, feeling of loneliness in a crowd (as you do not match the set maxims of a clique), low self-worth (considering the talents of others compared to you), and certain social, psychological fears which are picked up with no reason or basis. 

These issues can sometimes have a major impact on a teenager as he travels towards adulthood. Well, I had my share of such issues which today I feel was necessary to mould, carve and polish me as an individual.

During those turmoil days, the Priests, Brothers and boarding mates played a big role in understanding me and guiding me. I owe a lot to them for moulding me and also for helping me realise my hidden skills.  

The Old Violin, the fine-tuned me

However, a story that was played on a tape recorder during one of our daily 15-minute meditations is an incident I consider life-changing. It was The Old Violin by Myra Brooks Welch. In this poem, an old Violin is being auctioned away for three Dollars. But then, an old man comes forward, dusts off the violin, tightens the strings and plays a beautiful melody. The auction is then for 3,000 Dollars! “What happened?” They asked, “Nothing,” they were told. All changed with the touch of the Master’s hand.

That meditation ended with the words, “Even if you are the most battered scrap of humanity, God can produce something wonderful out of you.” That was the day I surrendered myself to Jesus and his Mother asking them to take care of me. The rest, as they say, is history as I have seen the Master’s touch in my personal and professional journey.

Olaf Lobo Don Bosco Lonavala
Sailing the world, the Disney way. Olaf Lobo visited many countries thanks to his stint with the Disney Cruise Lines.

Acting on my dreams, the Don Bosco way

Don Bosco was a man of dreams who acted upon them and ensured he worked towards its fulfilment. Life at Don Bosco, Lonavala, taught its students to dream big and work towards their goals. The influence of growing up and interacting with our Italian priests sowed the seeds of service and travel within me, which taught me the important attitude to have—The attitude of gratitude!

My childhood dream was fulfilled while working for Disney Cruise Lines, where I got a chance to travel the world. As Don Bosco once said, “The school is not the end; it is rather the instrumental means for improving the way of life.” The overall personal development helped me to respect and work in harmony with 52 nationalities on board. I saw the global presence of Don Bosco while interacting with the staff, some of who were past pupils of Don Bosco from Europe, Argentina, the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Thank you DBL for giving me the opportunity to dream big and for equipping me with values and all-around growth to make my dreams come true!

Olaf Lobo spent five years at Lonavala from 1980 to 1985.

Also Read: Thank you for everything DBL

Also Read: Cooking up a storm in the desert, the Don Bosco way!

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