How do we teach children to be courageous?
Courage comes from the Latin “cor” which translates to heart. My heart. My very unique story, that comes from my heart. It is rooted in love. Courage is a misunderstood word in today’s culture. It is not a conquering of fear in order to win. In fact, truly courageous people feel fear right along with their courage.
Courage is very personal. It begins in a place of vulnerability that is scary, uncertain and exposes our soul. In our lifetime, we will be vulnerable, it is a fact. We cannot avoid illness, public speaking, disappointment, rejection, admitting defeat, death, heartbreak: the list goes on. Life is full of devastating pitfalls. These events leave us exposed and show our true self to the world. Vulnerability can happen when we least expect it; a devastating diagnosis, an unexpected breakup, a past sin exposed for the world to see, being assigned a task we know we are unequipped to accomplish. These moments of uncertainty are very difficult. We feel raw and we want to cover up, to tuck in, or to run away. We can feel very alone.
The fear of not being able to handle the uncertainty or judgement is frightening. Being vulnerable is so uncomfortable that we can find ourselves making decisions based on our ability to control the situation. As Catholics, we know that we are never completely in control. God is God and we are not God. It is in these moments that true courage exists. When we examine our heart and find that we are enough. When we take stock of our soul and feel it being pulled back to God through His mercy. It is in being courageous and working through these events that we can feel the most alive and feel true joy.
How do we continually live with courage? It is facing our vulnerability with grace and mercy. It is as simple as opening our heart and finding our blessings. People who have the courage to be grateful when they are the most vulnerable are living with their whole heart. They are living with hope. They are comfortable in the uncertainty and can find joy in all situations. This is true courage.
But how do we teach our children about true courage? No one is giving out awards for humility. Courage itself is misunderstood. That is why teaching our children that they are enough to God and that true courage cannot always be seen is our job as parents. What we are after is children who take risks, can handle failure and have the courage to be grateful through all of it. Show up, trust in God, rely on the Holy Spirit and find joy.
Courage is knowing your own heart and leading with love.
Anne Atkin, principal