If you’re not familiar with Joe Paterno, well then you haven’t been paying attention to the news the last 3 months. By all accounts, Joe Paterno was a successful individual.
He coaches thousands of boys and turned them into men. He won a lot of games for Penn State University. He has more wins than any other coach in college football history. What he will be remembered for was a bad choice he made in a defining moment.
As a human, I’m saddened for his loss. As a person that has spent my entire life reading and learning to better understand humans, I know we ALL make mistakes. There is a difference between a mistake and a flaw in character.
I’m not sitting here in judgement of him. What I hope is that through his story, we can all learn a valuable lesson.
At some point in our lives, we are going to be challenged. We will be faced with a difficult decision. It’s at these moments, where we are truly defined.
It’s these defining moments were decision making becomes clouded, better judgement is blurred and the right path isn’t clear.
The whole world is against you. The storm is amidst, the waves are crashing around you, you don’t know right from left and there is only one thing to guide you.
Integrity. The quality of being honest or having strong moral values. Your light, your beacon and your way will be shown by your values and principles.
If you haven’t thought about them, nows the time. Who are you and what are you about?
When all else fails, your core values will be your default. They will be your compass, your lighthouse and what gets you through that moment.
Will you turn a blind eye to injustice? Will you stand up to tyranny? Will you take the easy way out? Will you settle?
Every great person in history demonstrated the character of integrity. Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Mother Teressa, the list goes on and on.
There are a lot of stories of those people. The ones that get retold are often their defining moment.
Rosa Parks started a movement in one symbolic gesture of not given up her seat. In that one act, she showed her character. She took a stand in the face of injustice and tyranny.
They made the tough decisions when no one else wanted to or could. Many of them died for their integrity.
It’s all you have.
Everything else in this world can be taken away.
When you believe in something so strongly that you are willing to sacrifice everything for it, that is a cause. That is what inspires others to join that cause. It causes people to hope, to dream, to dare that they can be their best selves.
When your defining moment comes, what will YOU do?