A Shot of Courage

So I’ve been thinking a lot about courage these days, and how a simple courageous act can not only change your life, but the lives of others as well. This past week I was privileged enough to witness two incredible acts of courage by people in my life, who not only faced down their fears and changed their lives for the better, but who inspired others to do the same…including me. 

The first thing happened while I was out on the playground watching the kids at recess the other day. A little girl, who had just started new to our school last week, and who didn’t know anyone at all at this point, was standing all by herself against a wall watching the other kids play. You could literally see her mumbling to herself, and playing out a scenario in her mind. You could see her mustering up the courage to ask a group of girls who were playing tag just a few meters away if she could join. You could see her stopping and starting, and on a couple of occasions she took a few steps but then retreated to the side of the building. I stopped myself from facilitating this for her even though I was desperate to, and I decided to wait a few minutes to see what might happen. Sure enough, after four or five minutes of an obvious internal battle she took a deep breath and walked over to the group and asked them if she could play. When the other kids responded eagerly enthusiastically this little girl’s face almost exploded with joy, and at that moment you could see her life change for the better…talk about courage! Even as adults it’s hard to make new friends in new places, so when I saw this play out so beautifully with a seven year old it made my heart want to burst. 

The second thing that happened was with a friend of mine, someone who is  like a brother to me who has been struggling with depression for the better part of two decades. After having spent every day of my life with him for almost twenty five years, I haven’t really spoken to him or seen him for the last ten, and over that time not a day went by that I didn’t think of him and wonder how I could have helped in some small way. Recently though, through the help of a current friend of his, we started to slowly reconnect. He just turned 50 and he somehow, magically, found the courage to make a new start, and to try to take back his life. After fifteen years away from friends and family he quit his job thousands of miles away, found a new one back in his hometown, and has driven back to try and rebuild the bridges that have been burning for a long, long time. Yesterday he sent me a photo with the old gang at a party with a smile on his face…a smile that hasn’t been there for so, so long. Anyway, the courage that it took to to leave it all behind and try to find a new life, a better life, has inspired me to no end. I feel like with that one incredible act of courage he has found some joy for the first time in I don’t know how long, and just like the little girl on the playground, he was welcomed with open arms…so good.

We all need a little shot of courage these days, with everything that is going on in our world, and using a little burst of inspiration from the courage of others can propel us to do the same for ourselves. Maybe it’s a change of habit that you know isn’t working for you, or a small step into the unknown, or a dive out of your comfort zone into a scary place either personally or professionally, or even just a difficult conversation that you’ve been putting off that you know in your heart needs to happen…maybe it’s even just an act of forgiveness that can help to build or rebuild a relationship in your life. As they say, there is no better time than the present, so muster up the courage and face down that fear.

Little acts of courage are happening all around us all the time, in the daily lives of our friends and our students, and with our loved ones, and there is beauty and inspiration in there for the rest of us…open your eyes and heart to it. What courageous thing are you going to do this week? I have a couple of things in mind that I’ve been putting off for awhile now but not anymore. After watching that little girl on the playground, and channeling the courage of my friend, I’m ready and I’m inspired…sometimes you just need someone else to show you the way…even if it’s a little seven year old kid. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

You can choose comfort, or you can choose courage, but you cannot choose both

  • Brene Brown

Inspiring Videos – 

Spaghetti-O’s

Pizza Delivery Man

TED – Emotional Courage

Related Articles – 

Why Courage is More Important than Confidence

Academic Courage

The Importance of Courage

Courage and Great Leadership

Live a Life of Courage

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