People-Oriented versus Goal-Oriented

goalMy mom and I sat at the table eating lunch. She began talking about one of her friends. Disinterested, I asked why she was telling me. As the words tumbled out of my mouth,

I wished I could take them back. She frowned. She tried to explain.  I stopped her.

See, I’m a goal-oriented person, deadlines, results and timelines. How can I help you propel your dreams, and how can you help me? If you’re not in that sphere, I’m disinterested. How much can we produce? What do we plan to achieve? Otherwise gabbing about others is gossip. As the adage goes: “If you aren’t part of the problem or the solution, its gossip.”  Proverbs indicates, “whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps things covered. Do not associate with a simple babbler” (11:13, 20:19).

Now, my mother was neither slandering nor revealing secrets, simply prattling; concerned about this person, and sharing her distress, which I knew would later disclose something I cared not to hear. She’s people-oriented, creating social and emotional ties.

God is still working on me.

I explained: “As a goal-oriented person, personal matters are not usually my concern. What is the task at hand? I focus on the goal.”

God is still working on me.

As an instructor, my aim is to lecture, encourage, coach students in rhetoric and composition. I don’t have time for excuses—my printer doesn’t have ink, Internet was down, I broke up with my girlfriend, I’m overwhelmed with other classes. My concern: when can you hand in your assignment? How can you improve your writing? I don’t give busy work every task is a building block.  It’s about production and achievement.

God is still working on me.

My heart belongs to a man that’s taking way too long to put a ring on finger. When we talk, I prefer discuss: how much money have you saved towards my ring; if we live as one, where is relocation. I want dates and schedules, what is your plan not speculation or hesitation. God is still working on me.

I realize God is still working on me because I’m learning to create friendly relations and more concern for people. Perhaps, that is why I was chosen for a few titled positions requiring human interaction, opening channels of commutation, loving others through their distress, and working with the oppressed. Only God knows how to mold and shape me. Knowing I’m goal-oriented I have to remember: We should make plans – counting on God to direct us (Proverbs 16:9).

The student: Ms. Hooks, can I speak to you about why I didn’t finish my paper?

I shake my head no.

The student: I’m not looking for sympathy.

I shake my head no, again.

Class ends, he approaches my desk. I look at him.

The student: I broke up with my girlfriend this weekend and couldn’t concentrate.

I shake my head, saying Adele the singer, recorded hit songs when relationships ended badly. Use your break up as your muse; finish the essay.

God is still working on me.

The F word

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Last week I discovered I was a feminist, and updated my Facebook status as such. One friend indicated my discovery seemed like a bad thing. However, another comment was “I told you, so” and another “lol to Ms. Hooks.” Why hadn’t I embraced this term before is what puzzles me. 

After careful analysis, and more to come I’m sure, here’s a few reasons why I didn’t think I was a feminist:

  • I resigned from my job to be a stay-at-home mom for 13 years.
  • I believe that men are better cooks.
  • I like men and all their manliness, not in terms of doggish and abusive behavior.
  • I like men to treat me like a lady: open the door, buy flowers, and pay when we go on a date.
  • I don’t want to be labeled or categorized.
  • I don’t believe all women, even married women, are prostitutes.
  • When women are violated, men should be castrated.
  • I ‘m a human being.
  • I’m a follower of Christ.
  • The pronoun for God doesn’t need to be a she; I’m grounded in he.

Here’s how I discovered I am a feminist:

  • While at home, my title was momprenuer.
  • Men are quite irritating and thoughtless.
  • I took my maiden name back after the divorce.
  • My mother is constantly trying to marry me off, as I tell her: I’m good right now.
  • I write about women who are independent, strong go-getters.
  • Women should have complete control over their body.
  • When women are violated, men should be castrated. (This applies before the discovery.)
  • I believe in equality.
  • Women cannot have it all: work and family.
  • God made us in his image. References to the Holy Spirit, wisdom “she.”
  • Biblical women who followed Christ were strong, independent, go-getters.
  • And when I look back to childhood, I recall being the only girl who did not dream of marriage and children, I wanted to break the glass ceiling and travel around the country.