This is not a particularly religious age we live in, and I'm not Catholic, but it is nice to see a new Pope, who places emphasis on service to the poor. At one time, work and service were seen as having religious significance, and religion placed greater emphasis on meaningful work of true service to family, and community. Froebel believed that manual training was a means through which students came closest to their intellectual, spiritual and religious potential. The following is from James Laughlin Hughes book, Froebel's Educational Laws for All Teachers:
Froebel saw the need of manual training to broaden the school program, to give the (human) race greater skill, and to lead men to love work; but he advocated its introduction into schools for much stronger reasons. His reasons were educational, not economic or utilitarian. He valued the change wrought in selfhood more than the products of its work or the improvement in hand skill. The intellectual and moral advantages of manual training are gradually unfolding in the minds of educators, but none of Froebel's successors have as yet taken as high ground as he did in regard to them. He made work a handmaid of religion, and believed that, if children were trained to regard work as a means of self-expression, it would always be to them a means of joy — the joy that should always spring from the accomplishment of a true inner purpose. "Early work," he says," guided in accordance with its inner meaning, confirms and elevates religion. Religion without industry, without work, is liable to be lost in empty dreams, worthless visions, idle fancies. Similarly, work or industry without religion degrades man into a beast of burden, a machine."
God created man in his own image; therefore man should create and bring forth like God. The spirit of man should hover over the shape less, and move it that it may take shape and form, a distinct being and life of its own. This is the high meaning, the deep significance, the great purpose of work and industry, of productive and creative activity. We become truly Godlike in diligence and industry, in working and doing, which are accompanied by the clear perception or even by the vaguest feeling that thereby we represent the inner in the outer; that we give body to spirit and form to thought; that we render visible the invisible." "Primarily and in truth man works only that his spiritual, Divine essence may assume outward form, and that thus he may be enabled to recognise his own spiritual, Divine nature and the innermost being of God." Froebel saw, too, the purely intellectual advantages of manual training." Plastic material representation in life and through doing, united with thought and speech, is by far more developing and cultivating than the merely verbal representation of ideas. The life of the boy has, indeed, no purpose but that of the outer representation, of his self; his life is, in truth, but an external representation of his inner being, of his power, particularly in and through material." The most important products of manual training are the invisible, not the visible. Brain making and brain co-ordination are the direct results of manual training.In other words, the maker and the Maker have a thing in common.
Make, fix, and create.