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A Word About Courage

A Word about Courage

His name is Bert Lahr, (The Wizard of Oz, 1939).  His character was known as the “Cowardly Lion,” but as we find out near the end of the movie, that was really a misnomer!

When he met the Wizard, asked for courage and was told he already possessed courage, he asked, “Then why do I feel so afraid?”

The wizard replied that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage means, even when you are afraid, you do what needs to be done!


What are some of the images that come to mind when you hear or read that word?

Probably, fire fighters, police officers and soldiers. And rightly so. They are truly some of the best examples of courageous men and women who perform courageous acts on a daily basis. I cannot imagine a society without these heroes. Can you?

But I suggest that we expand our thinking a bit.

Are there more courageous people on the planet than social workers, nurses, physicians, paramedics and other health care workers? They take care of us and our families, especially at times when our needs are acute and we are particularly vulnerable.

But let’s expand a bit more.

Aren’t we all thankful for the schoolteachers who guide and help prepare our children and grandchildren for the challenges of life?

(I don’t know about you, but I fondly remember several of my schoolteachers and often wonder if they are aware of the ways in which they have positively impacted my life.)

And please do not overlook these:

  • The single parent who is doing everything possible to provide for and nurture his or her child or children, often with far fewer resources than would be ideal.
  • The parents of children struggling with addiction.
  • The adults who were physically or sexually or emotionally abused as children-who have been traumatized and blaming themselves all their lives for something that was not their fault.
  • The people who are in difficult or even disastrous relationships. They don’t want to “give up,” but they simply do not know what to do next.
  • The people who are struggling daily with depression and/or anxiety that is almost (but not quite) debilitating. Just getting out of bed in the morning is an act of courage!

Let’s never forget, we are surrounded by courageous people! Often, we fail to see them for who they really are. And we often fail to appreciate the courage that enables them to face a new day each morning.

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