Group 5: Go The Extra Mile – Courage & Initiative

“We become brave by doing brave acts.”
Aristotle

We are now going the “extra mile” which means we’ve already covered a lot of ground with our kids developing their character and virtues.

Courage
Courage is doing what is right in the face of difficulty. What difficulties does a child face? Children encounter many fears. They should learn how to deal with them all. Facing their fears is extremely important to leading a peaceful and serene life. That’s not to say that we all should be aiming for peace and serenity!

Children continually face the challenge of learning new things, some of which are more difficult than others. Parents should encourage new learning so that fear of failure never occurs. What a fearless life our children would live if they believed that there is no such thing as failure. If they viewed mistakes differently, they would press on optimistically when they occur. Marshall Rosenberg maintains:

“We never do anything wrong. We never have. We never will. We do things we wouldn’t have done if we knew then what we are learning now.”

Courage also steps in to help one stand with others in challenging situations. Bullying, for example, must be faced bravely and head on to defend others as well as oneself.

The right decisions in life are often the hard ones. Children should be taught and encouraged to demonstrate courage and bravery by:

  • acting in spite of fear: not running away from dangerous or scary things; and
  • being strong mentally and morally: venturing, persevering, and withstanding danger, fear, or difficulty.

The mere inclination to do the right thing is not enough. We have to know what the right thing to do is. We need wisdom which helps to decide whether to stand one’s ground, to advance or to retreat. Establishing this virtue requires practice, which means facing fears, taking stands, and acting bravely when we don’t really feel brave.

“Do the hard right instead of the easy wrong.”

Initiative
Initiative appears to be one of the simplest qualities. It means being proactive, making the first move when something needs to be done. It‘s not always that easy. Other qualities may need to come into play before children become initiators, for example, they must:

  • know how to decide, on their own, what needs to be done;
  • be confident and optimistic that they can do it; and
  • not worry about making mistakes, recognizing that mistakes only mean there is still something left to learn.
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