Courage - April

COURAGE: April’s Key to Success
April, 2016

Dear Mill Pond students:

What do you think of when someone mentions the word courage? Do you think of a firefighter? Men and women who risk their own safety to save others from fires certainly have courage. Do you think of police officers? They must have courage every day to face unknown situations in order to keep the rest of us safe. Do you think of those who are in the armed forces? Certainly our members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard show courage in the work they do.

Can someone who is nine, ten, eleven, or twelve have courage? Absolutely! Courage is more than risking your safety to help others. Courage is “being brave in trying tasks that are new or difficult, and choosing to do what is right, fair or just.” These are two different types of courage and they both apply to students in Mill Pond School. 

First, the idea of trying tasks that are new or difficult is something that your teachers ask you to do every day. When you attempt a new concept in math or start a new project in art, you must have the courage to try, even though your first attempts may not be successful. That is what learning is all about! It might be tempting to give up or not even try to do the task because it seems so hard. That’s when you have to summon up your courage and believe that if you try, if you keep at it, if you don’t give up, you will get it! Afterwards, what seemed scary at first and took a lot of courage to try, may turn out not to be so bad after all. 

Remember earlier in the year when we talked about resilience: “Not giving up with whatever one has set out to do; persisting; bouncing back when you experience challenges”? Resilience goes hand in hand with courage. You must have courage to try something new, even if you’re not sure you can do it. You must have the courage to bounce back when you are not successful at first. Using that courage will help you become more resilient, and the more times you practice courage and resilience, the easier they get!

The second time when you might be asked to have courage is when you are faced with a difficult decision about doing what is right, fair, or just. Sometimes it may seem easier to do the wrong thing, especially if other people around you are doing the wrong thing. You may feel pressure from your friends or classmates to do something you know is unkind or inappropriate. It takes real courage to stand up, and sometimes stand alone, in saying that you won’t go along. What if friends at your lunch table are laughing at a classmate? Would you have the courage to say, “That’s not funny”? 

Remember earlier in the year when we talked about integrity: “Being honest with oneself and others at all times. Doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” Just like resilience, integrity goes hand in hand with courage. You must have courage to do the right thing all of the time, regardless of who is around, who is watching, and who isn’t watching. The more you use your courage to do the right thing, to do what is right, fair, or just, the easier it becomes. 

The amazing this about courage is that it can be contagious. If you show courage to raise your hand and ask a question in class, you just might give someone else the courage to do the same. If you tell a friend that he/she shouldn’t make fun of someone else, you might give others the courage to do the same. No matter what, you will feel good about yourself knowing that you demonstrated courage in a challenging situation. It doesn’t matter if you’re nine, ten, eleven, or twelve, or even older. You CAN do it if you believe in yourself!

We all believe that each of you has this courage inside yourselves. Now is the time for you to practice using it!
Ms. Kenny
Mill Pond School