'What do you think?' Print
Living and Learning
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Living and Learning column by Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

Look to see where people are making a path before putting in a new sidewalk. In other words, don't waste time and effort on something people won't use. Along the same line, refrain, as best you can, from answering questions people aren't asking. This intends to help address the question -- why aren't they listening? As with other sayings, these may offer a little food for thought.

Yes, it is important to look and listen and be aware of what is going on around us. In addition, it is also important to consult. To see what common sense approaches are staring us in the face even if it has to do with the placing of a sidewalk where it will be used. To ask, to invite their questions so that attentive listeners await our response to what is on their minds, what are their needs, is important. Instead of, "Here's a plan. I hope you like it," we generally prefer hearing the words, "What do you think?" To be consulted.

There is a story of the mother who mentioned to her young daughter that for her birthday they were going to have pizza. It was her favorite food, and this is why her negative response was such a surprise. Her mother learned it wasn't the pizza, but that her daughter had felt left out of choosing the food. This was not the intention, but we get the picture. Even when it comes to birthdays, it can help to ask, "What do you think?" We all have other examples and, hopefully, learn from them about consulting one another.

When it comes to faith in Jesus Christ, people all over our diocese are being asked, "What do you think?" Our Catholic schools and religious education programs are bolstered by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Theology on Tap, Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute, and countless other parish and diocesan efforts to open the conversation about what people are thinking, what are their needs. These are intended to provide a grace filled opportunity in which faith and reason can meet in the normal exchange of thoughts, and ideas, and the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?" He consults us regularly and awaits our response so that he may bless and strengthen our faith. For more information on the programs mentioned above please go to www.madisondiocese.org

Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is the vicar general for the Diocese of Madison.