When historians evaluate the lives of great men – or women – in our society, they often reference a ‘defining moment’ in the person’s life. A point at which the essential nature or character of a person is identified.
Defining moments are said to test our mettle; to determine exactly what we’re made of, and influence our future actions. More often than not, they tend to be tragic events… natural disasters, serious health issues, financial trouble, etc.
I’ve had a couple of these moments in my life. The kind of events that jar you out of your comfort zone and make you completely re-think your life.
I prefer to think of these occurrences as ‘shaping moments’, rather than defining. These critical, once-in-a-lifetime events certainly shape our expectations and how we perceive the world. But they don’t define our character.
Our true character is defined by how we live our lives each and every day, and how we care for each other.