Questions That Define Our Character

Here is a list of scenarios for you to contemplate. I consider them neither original nor conclusive, however, I do believe they will help you learn about your character.

You are walking down a sidewalk on Main Street, hear a scream, and turn to witness a man grab a woman’s purse, and run away. She is shaken, but otherwise uninjured. Seconds later a car drives by, and you witness the driver – another man – toss a bag of litter from his car. The bag of trash lands a few feet from you. Which man’s actions are worse?

You are watching the news, and a reporter describes the abuse and neglect of nearly 100 animals on a farm. They show disturbing pictures and videos of the animals. The next news story covers the collapse of a hotel, and the death of 100 people. They also show disturbing pictures and videos of the people. Which news story tugs at your heart more?

You are hired to work for one hour, passing out flyers to promote a noon sale at a local business. The owner has to leave town unexpectedly, but you reassure him that you will stand on the corner of a busy intersection, and pass out flyers as you are paid to do. Just before noon, you learn of an event in town. Something that is of primary interest to you will be happening from noon to one. Perhaps it is a celebrity appearance, or something related to your favorite hobby. Whatever it is, you are passionate about attending the event. The intersection where you are supposed to work is a few blocks away from the store, and there is no way anyone will learn of your absence. Do you spend the hour passing out flyers or attending the event?

You are a member of a jury. On your way to the courtroom, you overhear the plaintiff admit to her lawyer that she faked her fall and injuries. She is elderly, poor, and desperate for money. During the trial, you learn that the woman claimed to fall on a wet floor in the defendant’s store. The defendant, a wealthy businessman, countered that the floor was not wet, but offered to pay for the woman’s medical bills. However, she was asking for millions of dollars. As you deliberate with the other jurors, you remember that the old woman claimed she was poor. In addition, you know that the wealthy businessman can probably afford millions of dollars. Do you vote with the facts, and reject her plea for money? Or, do you award the woman millions of dollars, in the name of social justice?

On an island in the Pacific Ocean, there is an outbreak of a previously unknown breed of flying insects. Their sting will certainly kill young children, but only after the child suffers for weeks from vomiting, diarrhea, and excruciating pain. There is no vaccine for the disease, and the mortality rate for children is nearly one hundred percent. Experts determined that the only solution is to spray the island with a new type of chemical that is one hundred percent effective in killing the insects. Unfortunately, over time, the chemical will have a detrimental impact on the environment. Without the chemical spray, every child will certainly die. With the chemical spray, the island will suffer environmental damage. Do you favor spraying the island?

You also live on that very same island, and you have a small child. Without spraying the chemical, your child faces a painful, lingering death. Do you favor spraying the chemical, or letting your child die to preserve the environment?


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