Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

2 Rights, Don’t Make A Wrong!

Written by: on October 25, 2018

What is the name of the symbol in this image?

Chances are you will say the symbol in the image is a hashtag to be used on social media but before August 27th, 2007 most people would have known this symbol as a pound sign primarily associated with the telephone or with numbers. August 27th, 2007 was the day that Chris Messina sent the first tweet with a # attached to it and as they say, the rest is history.[1] People born after August 27th, 2007 will grow up with the understanding that this symbol is a hashtag associated with social media, while those who grew up in an age before social media also understand it as a pound sign. Both of these perspectives are right because the environment in which the person understands has shaped their answer towards this symbol. My experience with the phrase “critical thinking” is parallel this story of the symbol #.

Before reading Richard’s, Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, my understanding of the word critical was only from a negative perspective. I grew up in a single-family household, in the poor part of town, which influenced our worldview as one primarily shaped by what “not to do” as opposed to what we are “doing right”. This ingrained in me a critical outlook on life as a negative perspective. Another byproduct of being critical towards everyone and everything is that I developed a selfish drive to prove that I was better than what the statistics said I could be from the environment in which I was raised in. The underlying motto that drove me was to prove everyone else wrong so that I can prove to myself I was right. After reading this work by Richard, I have a different understanding of the word critical, and it is a complete 180 from before.

Within the first few paragraphs, the paradigm I had about critical thinking was being torn down as it was not defined as being negative towards someone else’s work but about analyzing and evaluating our thinking with the intent to improving it. [2] My pastor has been saying for years, and Dr. J has repeatedly said to us that we must become critical thinkers as we go through this program and feelings of dread would come upon me as the thought of being negative towards someone else’s work hit me. The question of how can I be critical (negative) towards someone who is smarter than me would often come up but as I continued to read, I found out my understanding was misconstrued in this context. The point is not to be cynical about someone else’s work or their line of thinking but to hear what they are saying and to become good at processing through self-basis’s in order to add to the conversation.[3] This to me speaks to self-awareness.

Self-awareness can be defined as, “the ability to know what we are doing as we do it and understand why we are doing it.[4] Critically thinking, therefore, is not about tearing down another’s arguments in order to puff oneself up but to understand how one process what is being said in order to agree with or add a different angle to the arguments. On the flip side, it is also the job of the reader to understand the authors/presenters self-awareness or what Adler calls active reading,[5] as the goal is to put effort into understanding the author’s point of view. The secret sauce for me in understanding critical thinking is that it all must be done in a framework of humility.[6] Again, a complete 180 from being critical in a negative understand where I had to prove myself to others and myself. Humility allows for you to be gracious to yourself as you process through your own biases and as you add to the conversation in agreement or disagreement to the arguments before you.

October 25th, 2018 as I celebrate my 34th birthday will go down as the point where I gained a new perspective on the word critical as the environment of Richard’s book has reshaped my understanding.



[1] “Hashtag.” Wikipedia, accessed October 14, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag.


[2] Paul, Richard. Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools (Thinker’s Guide Library) (Kindle Location 33). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Kindle Edition.


[3] Paul, Richard. Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools (Thinker’s Guide Library) (Kindle Locations 39-40). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Kindle Edition.


[4]” “A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Self-Awareness: A Foundational Skill for Emotional Intelligence.” ScottJeffrey.com, Last modified September 5, 2018. https://scottjeffrey.com/self-awareness-activities-exercises/.


[5] Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles Van Doren, How To Read a Book: The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, rev.ed., (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014) 6


[6] Paul, Richard. Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools (Thinker’s Guide Library) (Kindle Locations 167-169). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Kindle Edition.


About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

15 responses to “2 Rights, Don’t Make A Wrong!”

  1. Digby Wilkinson says:

    Mario, you and I are twins separated at birth (ignoring the age difference, of course). Last Sunday afternoon I found myself searching for the origin of the # symbol. It had been plaguing me for some time that it had miraculously changed from Pound to Hashtag during the Twitter era – a point that my 17 year old daughter could not accept. The idea that a symbol so close to her heart predated her birth (and then some) was appalling to her. The thought that I had access to such a popular symbol in the crustacean era quite literally undid her world – for about an hour. So I guess that’s critical thinking and questioning, and she was on the receiving end; unwilling to let go of her ego and socio-cultural bias, setting aside my viewpoints and research because they didn’t align with her, somewhat shallow, understanding. She takes after her father.
    I guess her response is a good example of ego getting in the way of learning. When it does we become defensive, and defensiveness always sees critique as a negative force rather than a an opportunity for learning and expansion. I guess that’s why Dr. Jason suggested using the questioning phrase, “I wonder….” to soften the blow. Great thoughts by the way. And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
    Oh, the mandatory question: How do you think we strip away ego and set aside socio-cultural baggage?

    • Mario Hood says:

      We are for sure twins! I think as Christian’s it much easier or should be because we should live from the understanding it is Christ who gives us all things and live form a poster of humility. Saying, that I have also found that emotional intelligence is very important and learning self-awareness is key to setting aside ego and socio-cultural baggage?

  2. Jenn Burnett says:

    My mantra with the concept of critical thinking is ‘critical head, not critical heart’. This has helped a great deal as I sift ideas, recognizing that they come from real people, usually shaped by real circumstances. Given our difficult circumstances can sometimes lead us to poor broad generalisations, I work to stay committed to listening and learning from people who have experienced different shaping experiences than myself—for example you and I have very different shaping/childhood narratives. But each of us will have some thinking that is particularly good and critical as a result and some thinking that is flawed by egocentricsm. I also try to be curious about what drives certain behaviour that troubles me. Another helpful mantra: ‘Look for the reasonable reason, for the unreasonable behaviour’. This has always helped me nurture a compassionate curiosity as I think critically. In light of your shift in understanding, how would you offer critical insight to your community of origin in order to shift towards seeing “what we are doing right? #idontknowhowtousetheseyet #help #criticalofbeingcritical #happy34thtomario

    • Mario Hood says:

      Thank you!

      Do I have to say, I grew without Christ so that was a major shift in my understanding and would be a key to speaking back into my culture. I would also help them to understand that your environment is only a part of what shapes you and you don’t have to be stuck in the mindsight of what others say but to understand where they are coming from and also where you want to be.

  3. Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Mario, I will date myself by saying the first thing that came to my mind when I saw your symbol was tic-tac-toe, not hashtag or pound sign! Of course, that could be because of the six year old living in my home that often wants to try my cognitive strategies through this game.

    I find many Christians struggle with the idea of critique because we are “nice” people. Unfortunately, we aren’t always honest because of our propensity to be “nice.” I learned this living in the South, which you are also well acquainted with. As several are writing about, it is humility as well as the other essential characteristics the author addressed that make the difference in giving constructive critique versus just being critical or cynical.

    Happy Birthday!

  4. Mary Mims says:

    Mario, I like that you focused on the fact that critical thinking must be done in the framework of humility. That’s what I like about the process of critical thinking. It takes humility to understand that our beliefs and thinking might not be correct for reasons that I did not understand or know about. I am thankful that we can be critical about what we think and write also based on the love of God.

  5. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Happy 34th Birthday, Brother! You are an amazing man, husband, father, and pastor! While you have defied the statistical odds and naysayers, you are now realizing it is not about what you will do, but what God has, is, and will do through you. Thank you for patiently explaining the hashtag perspective to someone who has never understood the social media communications perspective of Twitter (that is, that symbol evokes a different perspective for me.) Your epiphany about the positive, proactive fruit of critical thinking is amazing and humbling. You inspire me to be open to new learning, new epiphanies! Blessings, H

  6. Karen Rouggly says:

    I appreciated your post so much, Mario. I thought it was insightful, honest, and well-developed.

    First, I want you to know, I appreciated your authenticity in sharing your story. I also grew up in a challenging family dynamic, and I am constantly reminding myself that I am loved where I am and I don’t need to “overcome” all the crap I’ve been through to own my presence in this world. Humility doesn’t come easily for me when I have had to fight for a lot of what I’ve gotten in the world.

    As I process what you said around self-awareness and humility, I feel like those types of things are best worked through in safe community. That’s why I appreciate this cohort because I believe it provides a space for safe community. It’s a safe space to think critically.

  7. Mario Hood says:

    Yes, the cohort model is something I didn’t want at first (at the masters level) become it became one of the reasons for staying with Portland Seminary for my Doctoral Studies. I’m excited to get to know everyone’s stories and see the insights brought forth over this next few years!

  8. Sean Dean says:

    I’ve heard Chris tell the story of the hashtag on multiple occasions. The interesting thing, that he always points out, is that he wasn’t trying to start anything new with it. It was simply a way for him and his friends to filter out comments from a conference they were at. It was only after some other people picked up on it that it took on steam and Twitter eventually built it into their system. I wonder if the authors of our book missed out on the opportunity – or just didn’t have the space – to discuss the creativity that critical thinking provides. Chris and his friends were looking for a way to filter, which lead to a level of critical thinking that resulted in “if we put a # before a keyword we can filter on that”. Their critical thinking was creative and it resulted in something that changed the world – no exaggeration think #metoo or #blacklivesmatter or #babyshark (well maybe not that one).

    • Mario Hood says:

      Thanks for the background story it adds even more to the illustration. I love the creative aspect you brought to this, it speaks to something I’ve been thinking about in Spirit-led leadership which is we must have curiosity/creativity in order to follow after God. Many times we want certainty but following after a God of mystery often times we won’t know it all or else why do we need faith.

    • Rev Jacob Bolton says:

      I love the addition of creativity to this entire discussion Sean. And I hope that there is the space for both critical and creative thinking.

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