Courage. What does the word mean to you? As a young child I pictured a being named Courage. It was always Courage who defeated the evil forces, rescued the maiden, and took great measure to ensure the "happily ever after". Do you remember those stories as a child? The hero, the one who rescues. The fearless one, this Courage….?
I etched that image into the folds of my mind for a long time. I tried to meet Courage, but he was the elusive shadow I would chase and never catch. The nickname I had for myself was Doubt and Fear, so I didn't think Courage would accept me. You see, Courage seemed to hang with friends who rocked the world and made the biggest differences in lives, were always confident, and showed no fear whatsoever!
Throughout the years I started to understand that Courage had offspring that continued being brave, but that the smaller Courage's seemed to be make just as much of an impact (if not more) as the big guy. Small but mighty, these little ones!
If you have ever felt that courage was something only a "chosen few" could know, join the club. Then think again and question it! The faces of courage are all different, but they completely surround us!
There was a Courage in my elementary school when I was a child. She stood up for someone bullying a student with disabilities. I sat shocked, not knowing how to respond. She voiced her loud opinion. She was a Courage.
Courage was living with me as a teen when I admitted a mistake, even though I knew the consequences of my actions would be brutal.
Courage is my friend who fights a daily battle with a rare, untreatable cancer while she raises three beautiful girls in hopes she will see them another year through.
Courage found it's way back to me, when I broke down, defeated after three kids and a deep depression. Courage was the strong force that got me out of bed, led me to help, and forever change the path of my life, career, and my connections.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that each and every one of us has a branch of the family tree named Courage. Some branches we may see moral courage and other branches physical courage. Sometimes they are intertwined. One person's courage may mean taking HUGE risks or challenges, while another's person courage may be to stay sober every day. What matters is that we all embrace courage in whatever way we can, get to know it, model it for the next generation, and help it grow within ourselves so we can blossom into who we were meant to be.
The actual word COURAGE is derived from the Latin word COR….which means heart. If you remember that, courage will help you live your life with integrity, recognizing that when we live with courage we learn to love more and fear less.
Always remember, Big Courage was once a Little Courage too.
So I leave you with a simple reminder from one wise child:
"Promise me you'll always Remember:
You're Braver than you Believe;
And Stronger than you seem;
And Smarter than you think."
~ Christopher Robin to Winnie The Pooh
by Jen Slayden