Growing up, during the summer, I often worked in my father’s insurance office. While there were many days and tasks that blend into one, there was one customer visit, that my Dad had me come along with him, that I always remember. When my Dad met the potential client, he shared that a competitor told him that my Dad's service was “not all it was cracked up to be.” The client asked my Dad why he was better than this competitor. My father complimented his competitor as being a “great guy who did really good work". My Dad then talked about what was important to him as an agent and the way in which he tried to serve his clients. On the way home, I asked my Dad why he complimented the guy who spoke negatively about him to his client. My father's response has stayed with me all of these years later, “The way you talk about your competition is more of a reflection on you, than it is on them.”
Unfortunately, this week I found myself in a similar situation as my Dad. Truth be told, it took a lot not to respond in kind, but thankfully, with God's grace, I was able to channel my inner-Larry Cellucci. The word “competition” comes from the Latin competere – “to strive together", to do one’s best alongside others, doing their best. Whether it’s in business, among our colleagues, between neighboring parishes, and yes, even between Catholic apostolates, how does the way we speak of our “competition” reflect on us? In trying to establish our value and worth, do we diminish someone else’s value or do we speak in a way that helps everyone truly compete? Do we speak in a way that “recognizes Him in our neighbor”? Here’s to striving together for to be the best for Him.