Over my time as an intern at the JSC, I have learned and refined many skills. I have learned how to play bass guitar, I have learned how to set up a sound system, I have learned many aspects of ministry, from how to better give a talk, how to lead a small group, how to plan music, how to use music in its proper setting, as well as many other aspects that are too many to number. If I had to name one thing that I grew in most though, I would say it is in my ability to better relate with a vast majority of people. That is not to say that I am perfect at it now, but I have definitely grown in this area.
I had not had much opportunity for growth in this area up to this point. I was usually only with a small group of people who almost always were like me in some way, and we had at least one pre-established thing in common. Moving into retreats and talks, often there were no sure things that we shared in common, seeing that we get a lot of non-Catholics, and even a fair number of non-Christians and even agnostics and atheists. It was difficult for me to really find a way to relate at first. A lot of these retreats are required, and so some of these kids did not even want to be there.
But I learned some valuable things from this. It is important to find that common ground early on. People enjoy when you take an interest in them and try to find common ground between you and them. It does not have to be anything monuments, it could be the little things. I also learned that sometimes you have to look past the differences and seem to divide you, to get to the things in common that can unite you. And from there you can move forward and begin those discussions that need to happen on retreats.
I know this might seem like trivial things to others, but this was something I struggled with that I was glad to have figured out while I was at the JSC.