What is the single greatest way to make someone feel special? Reflect on your interactions. What makes you feel special? What makes your interactions the best they can be?
For context, with the internet, constant access to wifi and cellular, email, text, and social media, we’re always connected. Yet in today’s world, it seems we’ve never been more isolated. With being so tied to our screens, the art and act of interpersonal communication, one person intimately talking to another, has diminished. My kids are 33, 30, and 27. While incredibly true for their generation and those younger, I think that it’s something that has afflicted almost all of us, no matter our age.
G.K. Chesterton, in his book St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi, wrote about St. Francis, “what gave him his extraordinary personal power was this; that from the Pope to the beggar, from the sultan of Syria in his pavilion to the ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain that Francis Bernardone was really interested in him; in his own inner individual life from the cradle to the grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously, and not merely added to the spoils of some social policy or the names in some social clerical document”.
I work at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where our Patron Saint is St. Francis of Assisi. I know of St. Francis for many things, probably most notably him hearing from our Lord, “Go Rebuild My Church”. G.K. Chesterton’s remarks above speak to God’s call on Francis’ life. It’s investing in others, truly connecting with them, that makes the difference. The way we build anything, including organization of people, is one person at a time…one soul at a time.
My Personal Example
My Dad, who we lost two years ago next month, had this same gift. He had a compassion and and confidence, especially in others. People felt special when with him; they felt safe. He was other focused, deeply caring about them individually. When you had a conversation with my Dad, you had his full attention. He was locked in on you. This is challenging for many. I’m guilty of not always paying attention, but not him. He made you feel important, valued, and understood. He made you see yourself through his eyes and he saw you with infinite possibility.
I don’t mean to equate my Dad to St. Francis of Assisi. I sense that like me, canonization isn’t in his future. That said, he had the same gift as St. Francis when it came to his interpersonal interactions. My Mother, Brothers, and I benefited from it…there’s nothing like it.
Here’s my suggestion to all of us (I’m talking to myself here as much if not more so than you). When talking to someone, anyone, really, really concentrate on them. Zero in. Know the color of their eyes and let them see yours’. Remove the distractions and make them the center of your attention. Really invest. Actively listen (a lost art). Show compassion, truly care. LOVE them!!!
Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We live in a lonely world, where although very connected, many (maybe most) are isolated. Jesus instructed us to love God, love our neighbors, and share our faith. Be intentional. One on one…let’s get it done.
As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!