Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss. The classical virtue of fortitude is also translated “courage”, but includes the aspects of perseverance and patience.
It appears that courage involves a set of circumstances where it would be reasonable to expect one type of response and action and having something else happens. Fear and anxiety are often the emotions taking place when courage is seen. There is usually some risk and or danger to be faced. The danger may be physical or emotional, but it is real nonetheless.
When thinking about courage, images come to mind of persons such as first responders or members of the military. Courage can also be found in relatively commonplace activities. Facing the start of school, especially at a new school, with different people, can be very intimidating and can call for tremendous courage.
We have heard stories of incredible acts of bravery, such as grabbing a child from the path of an oncoming vehicle. There are other situations, such as standing up to bullying of yourself or someone else requires courageous actions. One of the examples of courage in recent years that impresses me involves the police and firefighters at the Twin Towers on 911. As thousands were running from those buildings, these people ran in to help save people.
One of the more identifiable characters in literature encompassing the idea of courage would be the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. His search for courage is evident in his willingness to go to the Emerald City to see the Wizard in the hope of being given courage. His confidence in the liquid he is given to instill courage says a lot about the power of symbols in attaining courage.
How often simply acting for a higher purpose and in pursuit of a higher good has led to what would be identified as an act of courage. Courageous actions can clearly be seen as defining moments in our lives.
As we move forward, we can look at those moments when we faced uncertainty, danger and or hostility. We can look at the decisions we made and see the outcomes of these decisions. We can also look at the lives of those close to us and see how they may be evidencing courage in the decisions they make.
A further step would be to recognize and encourage others as they make courageous decisions in their lives. Most everyone appreciates this kind of recognition. Recognizing and encouraging. Acts of courage can have a positive impact on our lives, the lives of others and ultimately on our world.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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