How in the World Do We Make a Difference? Getting to the Heart and Soul of Love and Work

By Sevilla, Patricia | Journal of Catholic Education, September 2010 | Go to article overview

How in the World Do We Make a Difference? Getting to the Heart and Soul of Love and Work


Sevilla, Patricia, Journal of Catholic Education


How in the World Do We Make a Difference? Getting to the Heart and Soul of Love and Work

Norman Douglas, Lawrence Vuillemin, & Stephen Hallam

ACTA Publications, 2006

$9.95, 109 pages

Frustration surrounding daily life is an obstacle every person faces at some point, and in How in the World Do We Make a Difference? authors Douglas, Vuillemin, and Hallam found that reflection and acceptance of God's role in life are the keys to moving past that stumbling block. The three authors come from different professions--the priesthood (Douglas), the world of law (Vuillemin), and education (Hallam), and have three different views of the world around them. Inspired by personal events and questions from friends and co-workers, their collected thoughts become a simple set of directions for helping find one's way when discerning one's place in this world. The book is not meant to give all the answers or dole out fulfillment, but to offer the reader an understanding of how to focus and evaluate the life they have. The individual gains knowledge from responding to queries posed, and applying that understanding to his or her own situations.

The creation of the book came about as a product of conversation between the three authors and is written in a style that involves the reader in that discussion. Because of the simplicity of the language and message, it is easily adaptable to a variety of audiences. Questions following each chapter promote open discussion or journal reflection. The school principal can enhance staff development with it as easily as the CEO, the pastor or ministry coordinator can encourage faith formation within different church groups, or the struggling couple can read together and discuss how it applies to their lives.

How in the World Do We Make a Difference? focuses on four main questions: "Where in the world is our God? How in the world do we relate to one another? What in the world do we do, and why do we do it? How in the world do we make a difference?" (p. 15). Each chapter develops one question through personal stories and narrative explanations with key insights toward forming an answer. The margins include additional quotations from people-- famous and everyday--that expound on the message the authors are trying to send.

Each chapter can be read separately if the reader feels drawn to one particular question over another. The ideal way to move through the book, however, is using the order provided. The reflections to each question build on one another to emphasize the main messages the authors are sending about the role of God and the role of one with the others.

The first question centers on the ultimate thing a person must accept: that God is first, and one must "begin this journey by acknowledging where most of us have found God in the past" (p. 31). The journey continues into the next question, which explores the book's second central theme: the importance of developing relationships. "There are times when our greatest duty is to be present for others. We need to just be there, without trying to fix anything, allowing God to be present through us" (p. …

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