Process vs. Outcomes: Is that the Question?

Before asking a hard question, let’s begin with a gratuitous flower photo:
One of my friends a long time ago said she could never homeschool because she was outcome-driven as opposed to process-driven.  It was the first time I had heard the dichotomy, and the implication was that I was a process-driven gal.  I had never thought of myself that way, but I did my best at the time of own that identity in some way.  I think I am learning to appreciate the process and not just the outcome.  But as time as gone on, I have come to think of it as a false dichotomy, perhaps in the same way the spiritual-material dichotomy is false.

I am noticing in myself, however, a tendency to avoid some processes that don’t immediately produce visible outcomes.  Take housework, for example.  As a kid, because of my parents’ schedule, we did all out housework on the weekends, in a big blast on Saturdays.  I remember my parents’ satisfaction that the whole house was clean.  At the same time. Probably as a result of that, doing housework bit by bit doesn’t seem very satisfying to me.  I never have the whole house clean at one time.  At any given moment, you might find my bathrooms clean, or the stove… but it won’t be on a day that the floor is clean, or the windows washed.  Oh wait, I’m not sure the windows have ever been clean.

Jessica has a great post on the temptation to do nothing if one can’t do something completely, or perfectly, and I appreciate so much her answer to that struggle.  Go check it out, and then tell me what you’re tempted to avoid completely simply because it can’t be done perfectly.  Maybe we can encourage one another to do what we can, when we can.


One thought on “Process vs. Outcomes: Is that the Question?

  1. Aw, thanks. As to process vs. outcomes . . . I totally agree, I don’t think that should even be the question. Process would be useless if it didn’t result in an outcome (I hate it when people say that it’s all about the journey and the destination doesn’t matter), but I also thing it’s silly not to stay wide awake and observant and content in the process, because that’s where we live so much of the time . . .and because sometimes we’re wrong about our goals, and if we’re not paying attention during the process, we’ll miss all those huge billboards God puts out for us saying, “TURN AROUND, MY DEAR, DELUDED CHILD.” (Okay, I’m not sure that’s quite how he’d put it . . . forgive my levity! It just feels that way sometimes! You know, they way you feel about your toddler, that, “oh, you adorable, wonderful, sadly ignorant little creature, c’mon, let me help you figure it out.”)

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