A “Successful” Woman.

December 20, 2007

The seniors are now reading through Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

In preparation for the prologue & tale of the “Wife of Bath” (a headstrong, opinionated wife from the town of Bath who declares she knows what women want most), I had my students interview 4 different people with 3 questions. The students had to interview a man 30 years+, a teenage boy, a woman 30 years+, and a teenage girl. One of the questions was, “Define what a ‘successful woman’ is.”

Here are some of the responses they received for that question from various people (name, age):

“A successful woman is one that has a good job & a good education.” (Betty, 18 )

“A successful woman is a woman that went through school & [is] doing what a man is doing. Always trying to strive forward.” (Donovan, 17)

“A successful woman is someone who is independent. They don’t have to depend on anyone else but themselves. They can fix anything that is thrown at them & deal with it. They don’t let others put them down.” (Andy, 35)

“A woman that knows if she were to die tomorrow, she would be okay with what she accomplished in life.” (James, 19)

“Someone who knows what she wants & is going to work hard to get it.” (Linh, 48 )

“She went to school & has a good job. She’s got money & is a classy woman. She has manners & is respectful & has a happy life.” (Mario, 42)

“She knows herself & the world around her. ‘Stay-at-home’ moms can be successful because they have goals that they have reached or need to reach. A woman who helps others & looks at the bigger picture in life.” (Anonymous girl, 18 )

“She feels accomplished & has dreams that [have] been reached. A successful woman has the irreplaceable people & things in her life, such as her family, job, & more.” (Frank, 56)

“Someone who is moving up in the world.” (Dennis, 18 )

“A successful woman communicates honestly in relationships. She does not bring up the past. She starts everyday brand new.” (Richard, 57)

“Oprah is the definition of a successful woman.” (Sammie, 16)

“An educated woman who is wealthy & happy.” (Betty, 34)

“A successful woman is someone who accomplished her goals without the help of a man.” (Ricky, 38 )

“A successful woman loves what she is now. She gives love to the people who love her. She goes on with her life even after a tragic event happens.” (Edna, 54)

“A successful woman is wise & reasonable.” (Wilson, 49)

“A successful woman has to have a rich man in her life who can buy her things.” (Ishmael, 18 )

“She’d be raising a great child. She passed her life down.” (Lina, 32)

“A successful woman would be someone that likes me. She knows I’m better than all the other boyfriends. She’d win the competition. She’d be happy forever.” (Brandon, 17)

“If you don’t have family to share your success, how successful are you really?” (Claire, 31)

“A woman who can look at her life & say, ‘Ahh that was fun!’ Life is short.” (Peter, 18 )

“Beyond through all these rubbish, Oprah is not an example. She is financially capable of buying her desires, but that is not important.” (Darius, 35)

“A woman who struck a balance between personal & professional life.” (Ms. C, 36)

“Not only does she have a job, but the job is one of the top positions.” (Inderjit, teen)

“A ‘successful’ woman is a woman that obeys God’s will & teaches her children to do the same.” (Jeannie, 44)

“Bluntly, a woman who is strong inside that will not let her emotions get in the way of what she has to do.” (Anonymous boy, teen)

“Was a leader not a follower.” (Sophia, 17)

“Someone who doesn’t get pregnant before marriage & knows where they are leading to in life.” (Janelle, 15)

“They have a lot of money with good family & job.” (Perlito, 54)

“Someone who has a husband who she loves & he loves her. & maybe a child or two.” (Lorena, 44)

“A woman that remains true to herself.” (Tonya, 42)

“[A woman with] a good relationship with God . . . someone who is humble.” (Colleen, 30)

“She just didn’t settle for being a housewife. She has a career & children who love her.” (Julian, 17)

“To have & finish her education. Then, going into a good college, & after, graduating. After graduating, you get a good working job. You then get married, have kids & with that good job, you are supporting your family. After all that’s done . . . you see that cycle go around all over again.” (Chastine, 17)

“If they’re dedicated to something or someone, then they’ll be successful.” (Conrad, 19)

“Someone who goes by her own rules.” (Alissa, 18 )

“Someone that is independent, a strong decision maker, & has good leadership skills.” (Kent, 52)

“A woman who looks 20 when she’s really 50.” (Bob, adult)

The majority of the responses (even the ones that I didn’t post here) had to do with education, job, the achievement of goals, wealth, happiness (undefined), & loved ones.

But this question still lingers – “What good will it be for a [woman] if [she] gains the whole world, yet forfeits [her] soul? Or what can a [woman] give in exchange for [her] soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Who is the woman who will hear, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all” (Proverbs 31:29)?

A woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30 – see Proverbs 31 for details), who loves the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:5), who sits at His feet & listens to His words (Luke 10:41), whose beauty is from the adorning of gentleness & quietness (I Peter 3:3-4), who wins souls – not by her own persuasiveness but by His power (Proverbs 11:30; Acts 20:24), & a woman who teaches others to do the same (Proverbs 31:26; Titus 2:3-5) . . . a woman whose “children arise & call her blessed; her husband also” (Proverbs 31:28 ) & her God (Matthew 25:23; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but in short, as the Navigators say, ” . . . know God & . . . make Him known.”

Let’s not spend our lives chasing after the wind, pursuing things that do not satisfy. Does that mean we need to quit school, quit our jobs, & quit everything else? Not necessarily. But the point is not to pursue these things as of first importance.

Let’s not be deceived. Success is not defined in worldly terms; it is defined by the Creator who created us “in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10), the One who will one day judge our hearts (of Christ, or no?) & our work (for His glory, or no?).

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4 Responses to “A “Successful” Woman.”

  1. moonchoi Says:

    As I read more and more of those, I felt my heart dropping. But there were two that stood out:

    “[A woman with] a good relationship with God . . . someone who is humble.”

    “A ’successful’ woman is a woman that obeys God’s will & teaches her children to do the same.”

    Those made me smile like this: :)))))))))))))

    And Ishmael’s made me laugh, “A successful woman has to have a rich man in her life who can buy her things.”

  2. tia Says:

    Whatever response included God, I included here in the post :] There were 3 total . . . out of about 300 people asked.

    & I was really happy that the 3 who answered were mothers of my students! That made me go :]]]], too!

  3. garnet Says:

    tiaa i just caught up on a lot of your posts. i love your writings. they always sharpen me. : )

  4. jennifer lee Says:

    the ones i really liked:
    “Bluntly, a woman who is strong inside that will not let her emotions get in the way of what she has to do.” (Anonymous boy, teen)
    “A ’successful’ woman is a woman that obeys God’s will & teaches her children to do the same.” (Jeannie, 44)
    “[A woman with] a good relationship with God . . . someone who is humble.” (Colleen, 30)

    and the ones that cracked me up:
    “A successful woman has to have a rich man in her life who can buy her things.” (Ishmael, 18)
    “A successful woman would be someone that likes me. She knows I’m better than all the other boyfriends. She’d win the competition. She’d be happy forever.” (Brandon, 17)
    “A woman who looks 20 when she’s really 50.” (Bob, adult)

    that second one… AAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA

    the ones that made me especially sad:
    “She just didn’t settle for being a housewife. She has a career & children who love her.” (Julian, 17)

    miscellaneous memorable ones:
    “Someone who doesn’t get pregnant before marriage & knows where they are leading to in life.” (Janelle, 15)

    great post.


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