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.

Faithwalk: What happens when women talk?

 

I

“I can do the job better than those with Masters and Ph.D.s,”  the woman said.
“A woman who has a degree and has stayed at home to raise a family is usually the best candidate for the job,” the other woman said.
“They have more time, more organized, and career-driven.” Woman looked at text iphone message. “After raising kids,…”
“And caring for parents,” the other woman interjected.
“Less life interruptions,” the woman said.
“We’re better candidates, volunteerism and community service alone is major experience.” “You have a Masters,” the woman said. “And even freelance experience.”
“Yeah, but a Ph.D. got tenure track, not me,” the other woman said.
“Does she have children?”
“Two toddlers and a baby on the way,” the other woman said.
“I can’t imagine trying to take care of my babies and a full-time job,” the woman said. “But I made the sacrifice, family first.”
“Our life is in God’s hands,” the other woman said.
“His plans are always better than my plans.”

II

Two days later the women talked over the telephone.
“Speaking of plans have you been writing down your ideas?” The other woman said.
“Not really, working two jobs is exhausting,” the woman said.
“Do you know if you write things down it happens?” the other woman said.
“Please, Girl,” the woman said.
“I’ve been journaling for years, but last week I started rereading old journals and…”
“What did you find?”
“A list I wrote in 1999 and all things happened. Even you, a dear friend that I could trust,” the other woman said. “That’s not all. After the divorce I wrote a letter to God describing my next husband.”
“Did it happen?” the woman said.
“Money, homeowner, no kids; but he was creepy.”
“So sometimes we don’t know what we want even if we write it down, or not,” the woman said.
“Taught me a lesson, I need to leave room for God,” the other woman laughed.
“Did you throw that list away?”
“No, I crossed it out, and wrote Lord, you know best.,” the other woman said. “Now, when I look at that page in my journal, I’ll know who’s in charge.”
“Good way to look at it,” the woman said.
“I did have a fabulous summer traveling, and that was one of my prayers…that I wrote down.”
“Maybe I’ll try it.”

III

Three weeks later, the friends talk again.
“I got the full time position, a raise, and the company is paying for me to go back to school.” The woman throws her hands in the air. “Oh, my daughter is engaged. She’s waited for that man to propose for three years.”
“I’m happy for you.” The other woman smiled.
“I did what you said, I wrote it down.”