In the Formation house the formator and formee relationship is very important for the matured growth of a future religious and priest. Both the formator and formee spend almost 13 years together learning from one another the dynamics of committed life. We as formators must ask ourselves what is considered a good formator? All of us have gone through formation, and majority of us had good formators who have made a lasting impression on our life. It is not their intelligence, wisdom and ability to communicate and teach but their life example, which we cherish even today. A positive relationship between the formator and formee is very important for the growth of the formee who along with his own spiritual search looks for a mentor to get rooted in his commitment and call. The qualities for a positive relationship can vary to set a learning experience approachable and inviting the formee to learn. A formator and formee who have the qualities of good communications, respect in a in the house, chapel and classroom, and show interest in teaching from the point of view of the formator and learning from a formee will establish a positive relationship.
The formators need to continuously monitor the formee as he progress in his formation and make known to the formee any problems and difficulties the formee is having. An understanding formator will be a best one to look for in the formation house as he will be seeing the formee’s problem, fear, or confusion. This kind of understanding will give the formator a better understanding the formee’s growth in spiritual and learning difficulties. Once the formator becomes aware of the problems, he will have more patience with the formee to guide and lead him to his goal, thus making the formee feel secure or less confused while getting formed. He becomes more free and spontaneous.
The communication between the formator and formee serves as a connection between the two, which provides a better atmosphere for smooth formation. Of course a formator is not going to understand every problem for every formee in, but a need of acquiring enough information about them for guiding and animating them in the area they are struggling with specific tasks.
The formators needs to understand the formees who come different cultures and family backgrounds. A formator needs to understand the value of the formee’s senses of belonging, which can be of greater value and build self worth. Therefore, the formators who demonstrate respect towards their formees automatically win favor by having active learners and followers in the formation house as well as in life. The understanding and unloving, arrogant or offensive formator will lack these positive qualities due to his lack of relationship with the formees. The formees automatically receive respect and love from their formees for their positive approach and communication. Both receive kindness and appreciation for each other. A formator who uses his intelligence with warmth and his discipline with firmness achieves all aims and goals for the formees.
Another point, I have often found critical, are the number of times the formator does not correct the formees on time but wait for the midterm or annual evaluation. It is too late to be corrected or admonished a formee and he will conclude that his actions or behavior is permissible, and will draw away from real goal of formation. It is essentially important for the formator to explain to the formee the importance of our life and formation period.
Another very important point is to be borne in mind by the formators is that the traditional and Canonical approach is to be re-studied and re-thought as the formees come from modern societies. It does not mean that we have to compromise our charism and the mode of formation but to contextualize the formation. The background of our formees is to be understood and taken into account while forming them.