Interview prompts reflection - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Interview prompts reflection

Over the course of the years, I have done a number of interviews with print and electronic media. In the main, I have found them to be positive experiences. It’s true that some interviewers are more aggressive than others. And, certainly some subjects are more sensitive and/or complex than others. But, the experience has been positive for several reasons.

One reason is that, with very rare exceptions, I have been treated fairly in the interviewing and in the reporting, with the end result that what I wanted to say was well reported. A second reason is that the opportunity of such interviews challenges me to organize my thoughts, to speak clearly and to use ordinary or non-technical language so that people can easily understand the message. It is an area in which I know I need more growth. It’s just not easy to be clear, brief and as informative as you’d like to be ‚Äì all at the same time.

I was reminded of that necessity in spades this afternoon when I had one of the most memorable interviews I have ever experienced — with Justin Schramm, a second-grader at Catherine McAuley School!

Justin and his classmates received an assignment to interview someone in the community. When he — with mom’s help — contacted my office to see if I would meet with him, I was happy to say yes.

In he came today with his questions in hand, ready to pose them and to record my answers. I loved the questions and admired the gift of this bright little boy. The difficulty was trying to respond to him in language that he could understand. I am not sure I succeeded, but I tried and know that the effort was good for me.

Even after he left, his questions stayed with me, and I found myself trying to critique and improve my responses to such questions as: Where do you work? (how to explain that there’s not just one place? what does a second grader understand from Diocesan Center or Pastoral Office?); What do you do? (tell people about Jesus, help them to find the Lord, lead them in prayer and service seemed to help); Do you wear a uniform? (the street dress was easy because I was wearing clerical dress and could do show and tell — explaining vestments was altogether different); What do you like most about your work? What is hardest? (being with the people and making difficult decisions).

I appreciated his patience with me as I struggled to use language that would be helpful to him. But, what I enjoyed most was how Justin — by his presence and questions — put me in touch with some questions I think are important for all of us to consider from time to time.

I mean such questions as: What got me on the path that I chose for my life? What really is the most important work I am called to do? Am I adequately focused on that work? What about that work brings me the most joy, peace and sense of satisfaction? What is the cost and/or the suffering in all of it? How do I find the Lord in both the joys and the sorrows?

My hope in sharing with you my experience with Justin is that it might encourage you to think about such questions in your life. Now that we have moved from the Christmas season into Ordinary Time, we are asked in a special way to be mindful of the Lord’s presence, invitation and inspiration as they come to us in the events of our daily life — even in such an event as a conversation with a little child.

Peace to all.

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