Do Big Moments Define You or Does the Day to Day Define You?

getbent

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Was reading a really great exchange between Dan German and Studio and from it, the question came to me... Are we defined by what we do in big moments or are we defined by our everyday exchanges and life?

In war of the worlds, Tom Cruise plays a pretty absent father who has been selfish and not a good father to his children. He hasn't put family first for many years, his children see him more as a sibling (and an errant one) but, during an invasion of aliens, he steps up and becomes a responsible adult.

Or the guy who all his life dedicates himself to being a good guy, kind and friendly, volunteers, does fund raisers, serves as a campus police officer, knows all the kids, does his best to give them good counsel, but on the day that a crazy shooter guy shows up, he is unable to storm the room and vanquish the bad guy, instead, he is stricken with indecision and is unable to move.

Or the dad that is attentive to family and friends, active in community and leadership, helpful and kind to all, but who also has a secret life that would shock many of those same people, not necessarily illegal activities, but shocking for the paragon.

What does define us?
 

Mjark

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Are we defined by what we do in big moments or are we defined by our everyday exchanges and life?
I think both. But most of us aren't going to have moments like the recent scenario you mention. Not to say things won't happen, they do to us all. All we can hope for is the grace to respond appropriately when they do.
 

nojazzhere

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Was reading a really great exchange between Dan German and Studio and from it, the question came to me... Are we defined by what we do in big moments or are we defined by our everyday exchanges and life?

In war of the worlds, Tom Cruise plays a pretty absent father who has been selfish and not a good father to his children. He hasn't put family first for many years, his children see him more as a sibling (and an errant one) but, during an invasion of aliens, he steps up and becomes a responsible adult.

Or the guy who all his life dedicates himself to being a good guy, kind and friendly, volunteers, does fund raisers, serves as a campus police officer, knows all the kids, does his best to give them good counsel, but on the day that a crazy shooter guy shows up, he is unable to storm the room and vanquish the bad guy, instead, he is stricken with indecision and is unable to move.

Or the dad that is attentive to family and friends, active in community and leadership, helpful and kind to all, but who also has a secret life that would shock many of those same people, not necessarily illegal activities, but shocking for the paragon.

What does define us?
Your basic question was......"Are we defined by what we do in big moments or are we defined by our everyday exchanges and life?"
I would venture it depends on who you're asking. To SOCIETY, a person is generally defined by the "big stuff"....are they a heroic figure, a mass murderer, a popular film star, etc.? To a person's FAMILY, they're largely defined by the "small stuff"......are they a loving parent or spouse, a friendly neighbor, a generous participant in civic organizations, etc.?
Personally, I'd MUCH rather be viewed as the second example......;)
 

Ricky D.

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I think that is a false dichotomy. Most of us do not have the opportunity to defend our neighborhood or our planet against murderous invaders, right? We’re just living our life and meeting the challenges that arise. The day to day defines us all, and I think rightfully so.

It’s always different when it’s real. And it’s foolish to expect someone to change a lifetime’s behavior pattern. Unless there’s a script writer dictating what happens next. Tom Cruise’s Top Gun character would have been on the beach with a pail and shovel the first time he refused an order to engage, no matter how gifted a pilot he was.
 

Toto'sDad

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Is this man going to chop wood, or perhaps something far more sinister is in store for him? It is only after we know what he will do that we can form judgment.
 

Cyberi4n

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Depends what you define as a big moment. In the example of Cruise in WOTW (terrible film btw) Cruise was MADE by the big moment of the Alien Invasion. Plenty of other examples abound of this.

BUT

Is it a big moment that makes someone, or does even an everyday occurrence that changes someone make THAT everyday occurrence a big moment?
 

ale.istotle

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Years ago I read a sci-fi book. Sequel to Ender's Game called Speaker For The Dead. Aside from all the sci-fi plots and devices there was a central theme based on the title. After someone died you would bring in the Speaker for the Dead who would get to know all the people and circumstances around the decedent and the impact they made on others.

Then the Speaker would neither sanitize or condemn the deeds of the departed. There would be an honest speaking so that the dead could be understood for who they were. I think this lines up with how most of us measure others if we are honest. It's not the small moments or the big, it's the sum total of everything including, if we are lucky, a sense of how you saw the world and why you did what you did.
 

TokyoPortrait

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Hi.

To be serious for a moment (it’s a struggle), ‘define’ is a difficult word here.

It could mean ‘form’ or ‘shape’ an individual’s character, or it could mean that which others draw upon to form their image of an individual’s personality.

So, for the former, I’d say all of life defines who we are, weighted towards our so-called formative years.

And for that later, I’d say it depends on who you’re talking to and what their interaction with the person in question was.

Pax/
Dean
 

Greggorios

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Day to day and consistency is all that I think really counts for the person. The big events are just that, events that the person may have participated in or even been responsible for but still, they're just isolated events.

One of the highest compliments I've ever heard was made about a guy we grew up with. He was consistently the nicest, most easy going and kindest guy in a room. He befriended the "in" people as well as the kids who weren't popular. I never heard him gossip or talk trash about anyone. One day a bunch of us were together and someone asked, "Hey where's Johnny?" Someone looked up and smiled and said, "I'm not sure, but that's just like Johnny, the time he's most noticed is when he's not here." People who can fill a room just by being there and without saying much.
 




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