For reasons that I can’t completely explain, I’ve been thinking about the word “courage.” Like so many other power words, courage suggests many people and events to me. The first of these is our American flag, the stripes of which are red, representing valor, another word for courage.
Teaching children courage is not part of any curriculum that I’ve seen; more importantly, it falls under the heading of life choices and values that are the underpinning of formal education. It takes courage to stand up to bullies and defeat their purposes. It also takes courage to get up and get out of bed each morning in order to get to school. If you’re less than competent at a subject or at school in general, the courage required to compete with other students is formidable.
Maybe it’s my Holocaust/World War II research that causes me to ponder the mysteries of courage. A particular type of courage is mandatory to stage a revolt in the Warsaw ghetto or in Treblinka. You know that you are unarmed, weak and disorganized, combatting a force that has put you in the state of incarceration and imminent death. Suffice it to say that I am in awe of this courage, as much as I attempt to face my life courageously.
We need to do a better job at commending our fellow citizens and our children at their displays of bravery. It takes guts to confront a bully, whether you are the bullied or not. It also takes bravery to stop in your tracks to find a new career or discipline because you’re unhappy or unfulfilled. And kudos to you for walking away from a relationship that is hurtful or abusive.
Thankfully, it’s been a while since we celebrated only those public personalities who were the best looking, had the most money or had the greatest performance talent. We must now continue to recognize those who had the discipline to stay with something until success occurred. This may be in the science laboratory, the operating room or the kindergarten playground.
Evidencing courage can only create more. And as one who has always cherished independence and being unafraid to voice my opinions, I must believe that our world can only benefit from those who are determined to stand up for themselves. Shalom.