Definition: the state or quality of mind that enables one to face difficulty, risk, or danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery, valor
Synonyms: fearlessness, fortitude, pluck, spirit, boldness, valor, bravery, dauntlessness
Discussion: Courage gives one strength, power, and endurance to overcome or surmount obstacles, weaknesses, hardships, and crises. The facets of courage fall into three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual. Courage is associated with bravery, valor, and heroism. Bravery implies fearlessness in the face of danger, but courage may be shown in spite of fear. Valor defies danger and difficulties. Heroism signifies self-denial and self-sacrifice in the face of danger.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) stated, “The worth and value of a man is in his heart and his will: there lies his real honor. Valor is the strength, not of legs and arms, but of the heart and soul. Courage is not simply the mastery of fear through physical strength: it is that quality that springs from a certain type of spirit, honor, and integrity.” * Courage is habitual and contagious. “We become brave by doing brave acts,” Aristotle reminds us.
*Note: If Montaigne were alive today, he would doubtless use the word “person” rather than “man.” In our time, we explicitly recognize that courage, spirit, honor, integrity, and other personal attributes are not gender-, culture-, or ethnicity-related, but are defining characteristics of the best of all humans.
Heartwood Story Quote:
The hand that held back the sea was numb, but the boy hugged the dog with his free arm. “Someone will come soon,” he said... But he wasn’t sure he believed it himself. —Thomas Locker, The Boy Who Held Back the Sea
“The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.”
“A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.”
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... [Y]ou must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
“How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.”
Facets of Courage in Heartwood Stories (K - 6):
Encouraging and recognizing courageous behavior in others (Thunder Cake)
Courage is needed to make tough decisions (Ira Sleeps Over)
Courage to try new things; explore the unknown, and face danger (Very Last First Time)
Courage to fight fears, real or imaginary, can inspire and unite people (Abiyoyo)
Raw courage displayed; bravery; rising to the need of the moment with a heroic act (Boy Who Held Back the Sea)
Courage of one's convictions even in the face of danger (Follow the Drinking Gourd)
Courage to face personal danger to protect the environment (People Who Hugged the Trees)
Bravery, courage to face unknown dangers and risk personal safety for benefit of community (Flame of Peace)
Information from http://www.heartwoodethics.org