Character Series, Part 9: Courage

Taking initiative when you’re scared.

Showing respect for someone when it’s not the cool thing to do.

Being grateful in the midst of bad luck, setbacks and hurt.

Being honest even when it might get you in trouble or be uncool.

Making a responsible decision when you so badly want to be irresponsible.

Remaining appropriately confident in the face of unwarranted criticism or failure.

Showing compassion when everyone else refuses.

Making an independent choice when you’re terrified.

As with ALL of our character traits, courage takes practice.

Mrs. Kay always says “Practice makes easy.”  I love this so much. It is infinitely better than practice makes perfect, because we are not aiming for perfection (and those who do will only face disappointment).  We are aiming for habit. We are literally paving little roads in the brain, whether it’s the motor skills to play a note or the courage to stand up to our peers. The more we practice, the more the pathways between the neurons myelinate, aka pave a road that becomes easier and easier to travel.

We talk of building character–it’s a slow process that takes years.  When our kids don’t show character, we should hold them accountable, but not be too surprised.  After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are upstanding, kind, successful adults.  We practice, we have setbacks, we practice more, and gradually we bloom.

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