Men have such an amazing ability to focus on one thing at a time. It is their strength. I’ve written about it before (1/20/13). However, at the time I first wrote about it, I didn’t add to it the perspective of how the strength of women is to see all of the potential results of their own actions and the actions of others. These two very different strengths ought to compliment one another, but sometimes they come into sharp contrast with the troubling result of starting an argument.
What happened around here this morning is a great example of how these abilities could try to divide us. This morning, my husband and I were going to go to a Bible study meeting. We usually bring a large pot of coffee along with us for the participants. Before we left, he wanted to wash up some of the dishes that were in the sink. However, it was starting to get late and I was thinking of the repercussions of being late. He was focused on finishing the dishes. Maybe you’re already seeing where this is headed. He picked up the rather large filter for the coffee pot and said that he was going to get rid of the grounds. I asked him not to. I had two reasons for that, both of which seemed valid to me and both of which seemed difficult to explain to him on the spur of the moment. I thought that it was getting late and I wanted him to finish with the dishes already so we could leave and also, the grounds were still hot and I didn’t want him to put them on my outdoor plants while they were still hot.
While those thoughts were still percolating in my brain, he was already reacting, complaining that I always tell him not to do this, not to do that. We carried on in silence for a while until a little light bulb went off revealing what had just happened. Like a man, he was completely focused on getting those pesky dishes done, convinced that he was making me happy by doing it. At the same time, my brain was visualizing all of the ramifications of him continuing with the dishes while time was moving on and of what would result from him throwing the hot grounds on my beloved plants. He was doing what men do best, focusing, and I was thinking like a woman.
Men and women both have their innate strengths. If we can recognize them for what they are, we can work together and become a stronger couple instead of reacting and resenting one another for being different. Men need to be able to focus intently on what they’re doing. It helps them to do a great job. And women need to be able to think of all the possibilities of what might happen because of their actions. Their precautionary wisdom keeps us from doing too much damage to ourselves. Using our talents and working together, we are really strong. In the case of what happened this morning, once we talked about it, we could each see what the other was doing and laugh at ourselves a bit, all the while appreciating each other for our differences. Vive la différence!
A MAN’S FOCUS
About a month ago, my husband asked me to drop some tool off at his job. He is a contractor and works outdoors most of the year. I got the tool and headed over to the house where he was working at the time. When I arrived, for some reason I just didn’t feel like getting out of the car and so I parked right in front of the house where he could see me. The front yard was small and he was working about thirty feet or less from where I was. He seemed intent on his work, but shortly he looked up and looked towards the car. I thought he had seen me, but immediately his head turned back towards his work. A few seconds later, he again turned his head towards my car and then began to come down the ladder. I assumed that he had seen me, but when he reached the bottom of the ladder he walked across the front yard, not fifteen feet from the car, to the other side of the house where his helper was working and he began to do something else. Finally, in frustration, I dialed his cell number. I watched as he fumbled around trying to get the phone out of his pocket while still wearing his gloves. He still had no clue concerning my presence even though I was sitting in the car fifteen feet away from him. “Hi honey, I’m right here in front of the house.” “Where?” He finally looked up and saw the car.
Even though I teased him about not seeing me, it caught my attention and for several days brought about deep wonderment and meditations about how focused he was on his work that he did not even see me just a few short feet away from him. As he worked, I could see his mind calculating every necessary movement and piece of material to complete the required task.
Later that same week, he and I were sitting down after a hard day of work, enjoying the evening news. I know that it was a Thursday night because on Thursdays the reporter for sports on our favorite channel always has a short report that he calls ‘Kevin’s 7.” In it he shows clips of the best and worst moments in sports for the week. As I watched men hurdling their contorted bodies straight into a crowd in order to grab a basketball away from their opponent or football players leaping over other players and plowing through heavily muscled blockers in order to reach the end zone, I realized what it is that makes men so good at what they do.
Women pride themselves in being multi-taskers. Some men might do the same. However, the strength of men is in their ability to focus completely on what they are doing. In sports, it shows up as a total focus on that ball and whatever it is that they have to do with it. The basketball player focuses his whole being on getting that ball into the basket. The baseball pitcher focuses everything that he is on getting that ball over the plate in just the right spot to get a strike. In work men are able to excel at whatever they do because their whole mind, and as a result their whole body, is in sync with what they are doing. Women sometimes act as if they are superior to men because they are good at doing many things at once. Maybe some men feel bad about that. Doing many things at once is a necessity for a woman because of the kind of life she has, but thank God for a man who can channel all of his energy, thoughts and actions into what he is doing at any given moment and because of that ability can bring great things to pass.