Defining Moments – Episode 1

Fourth grade… a classroom filled with thirty two screaming children… my stomachache worsening with each passing second. For a moment I wondered if I should visit the school nurse, again, for the third time that day. Glancing at the clock on the wall I felt the weakest sense of relief: Only 1 hour left. I can hold it in. And since my childhood anxiety had pretty much given me a stomachache every day (except for weekends – funny how that worked), I’d become an expert at “holding it in” – in more ways than one.

To add fuel to my inexplicable fire of worry, I was blessed with the inability to properly enunciate the letter “R”. These days it’s called de-rhotacization. Back then I called it torture. Like Elmer Fudd, I’d pronounce “very” as “vewy”, “cross” and “cwoss”, “write” as “white”. Not a day went by without one of my precious classmates requesting me to say the word “girl” or “bird”.

“Just say it,” Maria Foglia cried. “Just say it.”

I’d go back to my writing.

“Just say ‘girl’ and I won’t ask you again. Ever. I promise.”

She’d look at the other children who had stopped what they were doing. Like bettors at a prize fight, they were eager to see who’d win the battle: Maria, with her unashamed goading. Or me, with a silence that screamed louder than Maria’s voice ever could.

I searched the room for my teacher, Mrs. Katz. Where’d she go? Didn’t she see I needed my daily rescue? I turned toward the door at the back of the classroom and could see she was busy at the copy machine. Great. Of all the times…

“C’mon, Wob, just say it.” Maria laughed at her own sense of humor. “Say ‘girl’. Just once. Say ‘girl’.”

The reverberation of her voice inside my head caused my brain neurons to fire uncontrollably. This, in turn, brought my stomach discomfort to a level I’d not yet experienced. It’s definitely time for the nurse. As I was about to utter the one syllable that would make Maria disappear until tomorrow, Mrs. Katz appeared from the copy room with a stack of copies in her hand.

“Enough!” she yelled. “Maria, sit!” Maria humpfed and plopped into her chair. The other children followed her lead.

Mrs. Katz slapped the copies against her thigh as she walked to the front of the room. After reaching the blackboard, she turned around slowly and peered at no one in particular. The room was silent.

“I finished reading all of your short stories last night,” she started. “And I wasn’t very impressed.”

There were sighs and moans. The loudest pained expression coming from Maria, as usual.

“Before I hand back your graded stories, there was one I wanted to share with you. Just one story, out of thirty two, that I think each and every one of you should read.”

By that time we were all looking at one another wondering whose story was about to be shared. Mrs. Katz was a stickler. She only offered guidance, never praise. At least not that I could remember. And then it hit me: Jill DeMarco. She was the nicest, smartest and prettiest girl in class. Straight A’s since first grade and actually had a poem published in our town’s local paper. Her blue eyes and perfect smile always lit up the room and I knew from the moment I met her she was going to be a star.

I gazed at Jill as Mrs. Katz began to hand out the copies. She slipped one onto my desk and when I looked down I felt a rush of heat permeate my face. The rush quickly turned to a pulsing and my eyes began to water.

On the top of the sheet of paper it read: “Too Late” by Robert Kaufman. The neurons started to refire.

“I want you to take the next ten minutes to read this story,” Mrs. Katz said, standing once again before the blackboard. “I’d like you to take note of the metaphors he uses – if you remember what a metaphor is; and how he uses words in a way that helps you actually see the people and places within the story. And last but not least, notice how he uses his imagination.” She looked at me, a smile not on her face but in her eyes. “Start reading now.”

I, of course, didn’t have to read it because I wrote it. My job now was to figure out how to handle the backlash of teacher praise; how to ward off the “teacher’s pet” label from Maria and her ilk; how to defend myself when classmates would start calling me “weird” because of the morbid and ghoulish nature of my writing.

As I pondered my self-protecting strategies, I noticed the quiet in the room. There wasn’t any whispering or fighting; no passing of notes or pulling of hair. Everyone was reading, caught up in a story I wrote while in one of my writing “trances” – a period of time during which words flowed onto paper almost as quickly as they appeared in my mind. By the expressions on the faces around me and the unadulterated silence in the room, it was obvious my trance was contagious.

It was at that moment I understood the gift I’d been given and the way in which I’d be able to share it.

I heard some murmurs and other odd sounds as some of the kids finished reading. When I turned to look behind me, I caught Maria staring at me with a combined expression of both amazement and admiration. From that day forward, she never again harassed me about my speech – or anything else for that matter. She left me alone and I figured that was the gift she decided to share with me.

A few days later I started speech class and within a month I was pronouncing the letter “R” exactly as it should sound – which is a good thing, since I have two of them in my name. My story was never published in our local paper nor did it ever make it to the NY Times Best Seller List. But that didn’t matter. It was the story that started my career and brought about the defining moment that let me know who I was and who I was going to be.

Do you have a defining momenta point in time when you felt something so significant, it changed your life forever?

I’d love to hear about it…

99 Comments

  1. Catherine DiDia on March 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Great blog! I can’t quite narrow down my Defining Moment. I think we experience Defining Moments throughout our lives and don’t realize we had the experience until time has passed and we look back. I found reading the “Defining Moments” of those that shared rather inspirational.

    • Rob Kaufman on April 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Catherine. I’m sure you’ve had a Defining Moment at some point. Sometimes it’s just a little difficult to focus in and find it (or remind ourselves of it). Think back… then let us know when you DO find it. Rob

  2. Jennifer B. on March 12, 2015 at 1:21 am

    I went to Australia to study for a year in college. When I arrived in Australia, I found that there had been a mix-up and that I did not have a place to live. In a defining moment, I decided not to let the disappointment bring me down. I chose to visit every dorm on campus until I found a place with an available room. I wonderful place for the year and had this moment of knowing that I could overcome huge challenges on my own.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 12, 2015 at 1:28 am

      That is like the greatest thing, Jennifer. I know a LOT of people (perhaps myself included) who might’ve gotten on the next plane out and headed home. What you did takes a LOT of courage and determination! No wonder that was a Defining Moment for you. It’s something you can carry with you for every challenge that arises. Congrats!!

  3. Janice on March 10, 2015 at 11:37 am

    My daughter was 4 and man I was so loving watching her develope into a beautiful girl and all the learning she was sopping up in her beautiful brain, she loved to read everyday anytime she was not playing she wanted me to read to me and she would read back of course it was from memory but none the less it was the start of her love of reading. … I loved this learning stage she was going through, I took here everywhere I though she would love to learn. and because of alll the reading we did together she has written a book and sent it to publishers and has a blog that has over a hundred people from all over, writers and even a director who are signed up to her blog where she writes all kinds of stories and places she has went and what she has learnt from been there. and future stories she will write from her experiences ….. I have always loved to listen to her stories as she grew, when ever we drove home which was like 1/2 an hour I would always turn the radio or cd player off and she would tell me stories which I loved to listen to …. my favorite part of our ride home. she is soooo great at telling stories,, she even got a short story published in a book that a teacher of her put one of her short stores in from her english class and it was so awesome, and also as a child she love to make up her own plays and she and accouple of her friends would remember there lines and she would set the stage and my husband and myself would sit and watch them for about 20 – 1/2 and hour it was so awesome watching her and her friends act what my daughter had made up and act it out. She is such a special girl to me and will always remember all the great times I have had with her ….

    • Rob Kaufman on March 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Wow, that’s just a great story, Janice. So proud of what your daughter has accomplished – as have you, as parents. Congratulations on a lifelong Defining Moment!

  4. Shane R. on March 9, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    My defining moment was when I decided to travel more. It’s opened up my world and I still have so many more places to visit!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 10, 2015 at 1:30 am

      That’s so great, Shane. It’s definitely good to get out and see the world. There’s so much out there most of us never get to enjoy. Keep traveling and enjoy the world. Send some pics while you’re at it!!! Thanks for the post.

  5. Jenny Smith on March 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    This is great, thank you!

  6. Michelle Anastasio on March 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    This is truly a great blog post and thank you for sharing your “Defining Moment” with your readers. I look forward to reading more.

  7. Thomas Murphy on March 9, 2015 at 1:27 am

    My Defining Moment is when I had my son!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Thomas, thank you for your comment! Many people on this blog have said the same as you – your child was your defining moment. It’s an amazing thing and I’ve seen a child change the lives of friends and family in so many wonderful ways. I hope your son will have just as many amazing Defining Moments in his life – I’m sure you’re helping with that!

  8. roger simmons on March 8, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    My defining moment was the time between meeting my wife of 12 years (together for 13) and my previous past bad boy image. My wife changed my life and gave me a future to look forward to instead of a dark hole that I was caught in. She gave me a life, a family, a sense of pride, a belonging and she helped me get a career. Yes, that was my defining moment in time.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      That’s GREAT, Roger. Amazing how one person can so drastically help another find the right path in life. Your Defining Moment sounds like one you will treasure for the rest of your life. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Pam on March 8, 2015 at 3:22 am

    This is an awesome story of how we truly do have moments in our life that change us forever. I loved reading it and could totally relate to Rob. I don’t think any of us ever forget that vulnerable time in our lives, when we got bullied and just weren’t quite ready to stand up for ourselves. This blog touched my heart. Thanks for writing it!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Pam. Your comment means a lot. Funny how times from so long ago can still have such an impact on our lives. I sometimes wonder if there will come a day when bullies will no longer roam the earth. When people can be who they are every moment of every day without someone in the background sneering or throwing stones. Is it possible? One can dream…. 🙂 Thanks for your post!

  10. Lisa Davis on March 7, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Lisa, thank you for you comment. I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I have many people in my life who have chronic illnesses and they tell me, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I believe that – some of the time. Although learning about an illness is devastating, I hope the Defining Moment the diagnosis gave you was a positive one. Keep the faith and take any good and positive you’ve gained from the experience and run with it!

  11. Nanette Olson on March 7, 2015 at 1:42 am

    It sounds like an interesting book.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Nanette, it IS an interesting book. (I’m a little biased) But if you check it out on Amazon or Goodreads, other people seem to like it a lot too. If you decide to give it a try, PLEASE let me know what you think. Thanks for the post!

  12. Sherri on March 7, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Wow…. I haven’t had a defining moment anything like that. I guess the closest thing would be when I would win a contest for reading the most books (and it was always by a large sum). I won quite a few since I am such a bookworm 🙂

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Sherri, thank you for your post. I’m amazed when someone reads my books and tells me they read them in one sitting or within a few days. Having that kind of focus is a great thing. I wish I had it. I DO have it for writing, but for reading it’s different. Can you even count the number of books you read in 2014 or even this year?

      • Sherri on March 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        252 last year and 39 so far this year 🙂 Believe it or not, it was something I actually got made fun of as a kid in school.

        • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm

          Those numbers are amazing. (I hope at least ONE of my books was on that list.) I get so envious of people who can read that much. I’m sure you have the “perfect spot” you go to when you just want to cozy up with a book. Like me with writing, you have that with reading. And yes, I have no doubt kids made fun of that ability – that’s what kids do when they’re jealous!!! Keep reading!!!

  13. Melissa on March 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    When i decided what i wanted to do for the rest of my life!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Melissa, thanks for sharing. Was there something in particular that helped you DECIDE what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? The Defining Moment seems to be when you made the decision… just wondering if there was something that helped you MAKE that decision…

  14. richelle bowers on March 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I had to make a choice of keeping my son or sending him to his fathers home to get him on a better path. I didn’t want to let him go but had to do what was best for him. My husband supported me 100% in the decision.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks for posting, Richelle. That kind of situation can definitely be an eye-opener and a defining moment in one’s life. I’m glad you feel you did what was best for everyone and hopefully the path for all of you will be joyous and filled with light. Thank you for your comment!

  15. NinaB on March 6, 2015 at 6:49 am

    My Defining Moment comes each morning as I start the day.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Nina, I wish EVERYONE could have your perspective on Defining Moments! It appears as though you’re living in the present and letting it unfold one moment at a time. Keep it going and let us know how it’s working for you! Thanks for your post.

  16. Jayne Cameron on March 6, 2015 at 4:07 am

    My defining moment was when I had Grand Children and my daughter said to me. “I am turning into my mother and I am so glad.” This helped me so much as I still have a Teenager at home who is experiencing much teenage angst and I knew from that moment that everything was going to be Okay with my younger daughter as I would have the strength to raise her as well and help her overcome her challenges.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      That’s an amazing story, Jayne. It’s so great that the learning from one child (or friend… or parent) can teach us so much for the next time around. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and then BOOM, someone says or does something and we can see the light so clearly. Congratulations on becoming a grandparent and please keep us updated on how great things are going. Thank you for your comment.

  17. Marlene Vazquez on March 6, 2015 at 2:57 am

    My defining moment was becoming a parent.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Marlene, it seems MANY people feel the same way as you do (see other posts about parenthood). It’s definitely a life-changing event – a Defining Moment in so many people’s lives. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Lilith Katz on March 6, 2015 at 1:20 am

    After working in my dream job for several years it was clear to me that I was never going to get the same type of external recognition they my co-workers did because I avoid that type of attention by nature. My boss/mentor would bring all of us back something when he and his family took their annual Disney vacation. One year I got the standard gift (Star Wars character pen) and something special- a Super-Man Cape. Even though I wasn’t as flashy as my co-workers, by boss appreciated all the work that I did, completely validating me. This was the first time that I really felt appreciated for being me.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Lilith, I really, really liked this story. I know what it’s like to “avoid attention” even though you feel it’s well deserved. For your boss to bring you an “extra” gift definitely proves he thinks of you as “special”. I hope, like me, you learn to ALLOW people to give you the attention you’re worthy of. It’s important – for you and those around you. Trust me, after you allow it once, it’ll be a lot easier the next time(s). Please keep us updated!!! Thanks for posting.

  19. Diane Vescio on March 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    When we had a flood in our basement and the insurance company said it was “An act of God” – so no help. That is when I started entering contests to help out my family financially 🙂

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Diane, I hate hearing about floods and insurance companies not paying. We’ve lived through Hurricane Sandy and some of the stories are not to be believed. I’m sorry you didn’t win this giveaway, but I will definitely let you know when more are on the horizon. Hopefully winning an Author Giveaway or even reading one of my books can become a new and better Defining Moment for you! Thanks for posting.

  20. Tyneisha on March 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    My defining moment is definitely a cliche, but that’s okay. When I had my first child I felt a moment of maturity come over me. It was no longer about my own desires but the needs of my baby. Now my hubby and I are due with our 3rd and so much continues to evolve. I think almost anyone can testify that having children is one of the ultimate defining moments!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Tyneisha, you can see by many of the posts here that having children is a Defining Moment in so many people’s lives. It’s such a wonderful thing. I don’t know the feeling myself, but I have so many close friends and family who share the “difference” a child makes in one’s life. I guess, in some ways, children can define who we are and how we live our lives. It’s all part of the Life Process. With three children, you probably don’t have much time to read. But if you do get to read One Last Lie, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Especially from a Mom’s perspective. Thanks for writing!

  21. Nancy on March 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    The death of a loved one.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Nancy. No doubt. The death of a loved one always changes things for us. And if we use what we’ve learned wisely and in good ways, a loss can sometimes lead us down a more positive path. Thank you for posting.

  22. Brandy on March 5, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Those 7 words, 4 years ago: I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat.

    Those defined the rest of my life. Now a mother of 3 with my first gone, it redefined my purpose and changed the game for me completely. What is important to me now was not what I prioritized just 4 years ago.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Brandy, there are no words to express the sorrow I feel about this. It’s not fair that something like this has to happen in order for us to set our priorities straight. Trust in your beliefs and enjoy every moment with your children – in life and in spirit. Thank you for your post.

  23. Carol Gowett on March 5, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I don’t really know if I can pinpoint anything in particular as a defining moment. Although my life has taken some unexpected turns, there is no one occasion that stands out during the years.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Carol. If you think about jobs, friends, relationships, hobbies… was there not one thing that happened with any of them that made you say, “You know what, I’m going to__________.”? No matter how small we think a decision might be, it could be a Defining Moment and we just don’t know it. I don’t mean to grill you, just seeing if there’s something over the years you might’ve missed…

  24. KJ Skib on March 5, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    My defining moment was moving out of my hometown and starting over in Chicago.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks, KJ. I LOVE Chicago. Have only visited a few times, but there are certain things about it that make me what to keep going back. Was there something that made you say, “I’m going to Chicago…” or was it just an inner urge to leave your hometown? And are things working out as you had hoped?

  25. Margaret P. on March 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Yes! When I was 16 I applied for a joy at a kennel. I wasn’t even considered for the job. The man looked at me and said “this isn’t a job for a girl”! I was gobsmacked! That was the moment, 30 plus years ago I vowed never to allow anyone to hold me back because “I’m a girl”.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Margaret, your post made me smile! Great story. Although the person who said that to you might have been a bozo, if you think about it, in a way he helped you. Sometimes the people who tell us what we CAN’T do are the ones who end up pushing us into doing the things we SHOULD do. Congrats on allowing his comment to work FOR you! Thanks for posting and, by the way, love the use of “gobsmack”. I haven’t seen that in quite awhile.

  26. Amanda Dobarro on March 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    My defining moment was the day I ran for student council poet. I never expected to even consider doing something so drastic. I was a rebel hell-raising to my friends, but secretly I was a quiet girl searching for herself. My two worlds had never collided and no one knew “me”. Well later that day I heard the announcements and I WON! I proudly walked up to the principal amidst cat calls etc. and with great grace accepted. The silence behind me spoke volumes. I was now “me”. Funny thing this “coming out”-I had tons more friends then ever. I felt free and happy for the first time.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Amanda, that is a wonderful, heart-warming story. It’s great that you won, but the cherry on the cake (or is it the icing?) is that you were able to be YOU and found people who appreciated you and what you could do. These are the times we have to remember the next time something comes up where we feel inadequate or not up to the task. Remember how you pushed past this last round and you’ll be able to do it again… each time, every time. Thanks for your post and keep doing what you’re doing!

      • Amanda Dobarro on March 9, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        Thanks for that!

  27. James Robb on March 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    My defining moment was when I threw my last techno party.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Can you elaborate on that, James? It sounds too interesting to just let it go…

  28. Nikki Klaus on March 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Loved the small taste. It had me hooked and cant wait to read more!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Nikki! Thanks for your comment. It only gets better from here. Please let me know if you do read it. I’d love your take on it and want to hear what you think. Thanks again for posting and I hope to hear from you soon with a review – an HONEST review. It helps me learn for the next time.

  29. robin phillips-knotts on March 5, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    No.defining.moment.here…I’ve.just.always.wanted.to.be.a.mom.and.take.care.of.my.kids.
    Thankfully.I.married.a.great.guy.that.let.me.do.just.that.:)
    So.no.defining.moments.but.tremendous.blessings.all.throughout.my.life.
    {sorry…spacebar.is.on.vacation.lol}
    Thanks.for.the.giveaway!.I.look.forward.to.checking.out.your.book.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Robin. LOVE the space bar vacation. I think you’ve discovered a new way of communicating. However, your period key might be the next one to go if you keep this up! I’m so glad your life is filled with blessings. I wonder if you realizing how wonderful your life is, IS your Defining Moment. Of course, only YOU can decide that. Thank you for sharing and I hope you enjoy “One Last Lie” if you get the chance to read it.

  30. Terri Quick on March 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Mine was realizing that I’m a good person & that I deserve to be happy.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Terri, that is just GREAT. It’s simple but life-changing. Did something happen that made you realize it or did it just come to you one day? Just asking because what you wrote is important for everyone to know and if there’s something they could learn from you, I’d love for you to share it. Everyone deserves to be happy! Thank you for sharing.

      • Terri Quick on March 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        I spent a lifetime being like a little mouse that was always quiet & never stood up for myself. Now that I’ve gotten older I realized that I have a voice & that I needed to start using it.

        • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm

          Exactly! Everyone has the right to have a voice and be who they want to be. No one is any more special than anyone else. Well, at least that’s the way I see it….

  31. julie murphy on March 5, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    When I got a job as a cook at a restaurant with no experience.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Julie… I HAVE to hear THAT story. A cook with NO experience? Do you have at least ONE funny (or strange) occurrence from that endeavor? I could probably use that in my next book!

      • Julie Murphy on March 10, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        I needed a job. Someone had told me they were hiring. I went in to apply. She asked me if I could cook. I said I could because I did for my family. She questioned me for awhile. I got the job on the spot. Their big draw was a buffet, but it seemed they made the same things all the time. Like fish Friday, and meatloaf Thursday. They also made the same desserts on each night. So after a few weeks I started to make my own desserts. People started to buy desserts off of the buffet. But then there was a problem. Her sister worked there. She got jealous because people would ask if I was there before they would order. She didn’t like that they like my desserts better either. Which is funny because I made 2 chocolate pies (from scratch) and when I went to put them out that evening one was gone. Her sister had eaten the missing one. The whole thing. She was a big ole girl too. Her sister was the cook on days. So needless to say after 8 months I was fired via text. But karma won because the restaurant has since closed.

        • Rob Kaufman on March 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm

          I know I probably shouldn’t have, but I was laughing at the “missing pie” part of the story. THAT was too much. Well, at least you know you have baking talents. I hope you’re using them. Dessert is my weakness. Always have been… always will be. Thanks for making me laugh today!

  32. Stefany Sanchez on March 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I loved your story. Thanks for sharing it. Sometimes we don’t realize how good we are until someone lets us know it. I think I had a defining moment when my French teacher told me I was good with languages and I should do something about it. Before that I had this crazy dream about being translator and after she said that, I knew it wasn’t crazy or impossible. Today I’m studying to be a translator!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Stefany, that’s a GREAT story. It just shows how a teacher (or friend, or parent, or stranger) can say one small thing and we can develop it into a life changing event. The secret is to keep the positive people in our lives – the people who tell us good things about ourselves and encourage us. This helps us push further and get more of the things we deserve in life. Do you know what you’re going to do once you become a full-fledged translator?

      • Stefany Sanchez on March 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        I would like to work for the United Nations! I’ll follow your advice about keeping positive people close to us 😀 thank you

  33. debbie on March 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    My defining moment I was 24 and had a new born. I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and knew I had to find a safe way to get away from his violent father and raise him and his older brother in a safe loving environment where they didn’t see therir father beat their mother for the smallest infraction and I would could not watch them grow up and possibly carry on their fathers abusive ways to another generation. I had to plan and be secretive and clever and I got us out safely. I raised my sons to be loving kind men who have not nor do i think they will ever be violent or abusive and that defining moment was my defining moment.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing this, Debbie. As I told Della (a few posts above), your bravery and strength could be a defining moment for someone reading this blog right now. I am so happy for you that you were able to do what you did and come out the other side with two wonderful sons. Again, thank you for sharing and “keep up the great work!”

  34. NayNay on March 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Loved in the Shadow of Stone!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks, Nay Nay! I’m so glad you liked it. Have you had a chance to read , “One Last Lie”? You might enjoy that one as much… or more. Would love to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks for posting!

  35. bina edwards on March 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I honest to God do not have a defining moment (but I’m not dead yet, so don’t give up on me)

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Bina! As i said to Robin above, sometimes the Defining Moments occur and we just don’t see them. They can be small, almost invisible, but if you focus on the things that happen during the day, you’re bound to see something. And when you do, use it to its fullest! PLEASE let us know if you do start to focus and discover a Defining Moment. We’d love to hear it! Thanks for your post!

  36. Amanda Sakovitz on March 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    My defining moment was leaving college after I realized it wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Amanda, it sounds like you went through a bit of a rough time. Defining Moments often are. But seeing it as a Defining Moment means it was something positive, not negative. It’s something we learn from, which I’m thinking you did. Can you tell us what you did after you decided college (or that particular college) wasn’t for you?

  37. sandra on March 5, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    my defining moment was the birth of my son

    • Rob Kaufman on March 10, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      YES! That’s what so many people on this blog are saying – it’s the birth of their child(ren) that is their Defining Moment. There must be a message in there somewhere! Thanks for your post, Sandra!

  38. Ilene Rose on March 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Looking forward to reading you book – sounds amazing!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks, Ilene. I can’t wait to hear what you think. I’ll take any review (and critique) I can get. So please let me know. Thanks for your post.

  39. Marge Bowman on March 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    In high school, when everyone was deciding what they wanted to do in life, I had no idea. Not the normal no idea that many high schoolers have, this was NO idea. In my Jr & Sr years, I took all the home ec type classes, from child development to home management. I loved it. I did become teachers pet, but didn’t get made fun of for it. At graduation, as we were walking to our seats, Mrs. Read, the teacher that taught every single one of the home ec classes, smiled at me and grabbed my hand. Afterwards, she told me, Someday you are going to make someone an excellent wife and mother. At that moment I thought, does she think I can’t go on to college? Does she think I can’t do anything else?

    After graduation I had many different typical jobs. My family couldn’t afford college and I really had no interest in more school. I wasn’t a scholar in high school and couldn’t wait to get out. I married my high school boyfriend, had a baby, stayed home with her and loved it. He didn’t though and it was the cause of our divorce. He thought I should work, I thought my child needed my guidance.

    I worked for 1 year, until I met my now husband. As we dated and got closer and started talking about making a life together, he told me he’s always wanted someone to stay home and raise our children. That was 1989. I’ve been home ever since and I have loved every minute of it. Now that my kids are grown adults, I’ve had a few moments of, now what? And, I should’ve had a back up plan. But I am so proud and so happy that I stayed home with my kids and took care of the house and everything and everyone. It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing you raised good people, who have went on and made good lives for themselves and had their mom there whenever they needed her.

    So, my defining moment is with Mrs. Read, at graduation. I wish I could thank her for all she did for me. I love my life.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Marge, that’s an amazing story. And very heartwarming, too. I have quite a few friends who got married and raised a family right out of high school. It’s what they wanted to do and they haven’t regretted a moment of it. As you know, staying at home and raising a family can oftentimes be a lot more difficult than getting up and going to an office every day. You can’t just “take a day off” and get back to things tomorrow. As far as the “What now?” issue, I hope you know it’s never too late to do ANYTHING. If you have the chance, take a look at the book, “Begin with YES”. It’s about the first step to making things happen in life. Of course, that’s after you read “One Last Lie”! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  40. Terri Herman on March 5, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I received a scam phone call that I fell for. I was young and very trusting.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Terri, that brings back bad memories for me also. Young and trusting and getting scammed. It’s sad that we have to learn to become “untrusting” as we get older. We become jaded and then find it difficult to trust anyone. We just have to hone our skills at reading people, I guess. Those we aren’t sure about… well, we just have to hold back. Well, I’m glad at least you learned this lesson when you were young. Thanks for your comment and we hope to hear from you again soon!

  41. Della Dabner on March 5, 2015 at 11:38 am

    At first I didn’t really think I have had a “defining moment” until I thought about when I decided to rededicate my life to Christ. I was going through a horrible marriage with mental abuse and I was pregnant but I was having a hard time leaving until one day I felt his spirit help me get stronger and I was able to leave my cheating, lying husband and raise my daughter who is now 19 years old.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Della, what a great story. Not what you had to endure, of course, but how you found what you needed to make a great life for yourself and your daughter. I hope you’re proud of yourself because you should be! Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to share. Stories like this help others and could even be a Defining Moment for someone reading this right now!

  42. Robin D on March 5, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Unfortunately I lead a fairly dull life. The most important things that have happened to me. Is the birth of my children

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Robin, I can’t imagine you having a dull life when children are involved – whether they’re 5 or 50. There’s ALWAYS something going on in their lives that probably keep you occupied (or concerned 😉 ) Keep focused on the things that happen during your day – no matter how “dull” you think they might be. I can guarantee there’s a Defining Moment in there. Sometimes they’re just more difficult to see than other times. Thanks for sharing.

  43. S Thompson on March 5, 2015 at 11:16 am

    The day the calendar changed to thee year 2000.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      I think a lot of us felt the same way. 2000 was a big turning point. Any particular reason it was for you?

  44. Sania Wasif on March 5, 2015 at 10:49 am

    could be a date night!

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Definitely, Sania. A date night could be a GREAT (or not so great) “Defining Moment”. Will you let us know if any of your future date nights DO turn into a Defining Moment? We’re hoping for a GREAT one! Thanks for sharing.

  45. Amy O'Sullivan on March 5, 2015 at 1:06 am

    what a well presented moment in time. Wouldn’t we be amazed though at how many other of our classmates were also having feelings of anxiety and low self worth. I wish I had known back then that even the most popular girl couldn’t wait to hear the bell ring for the end of the day. I also wish that my children didn’t have to wait to understand this concept. Great entry Rob. Can’t wait to read more.

    • Rob Kaufman on March 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks, Amy! So right about our classmates feeling as much anxiety as we were. I sometimes think it was the kids with the most anxiety and feelings of low self worth that were the biggest “bullies”. Thanks for your comment!

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