Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finding Courage In Our Modern World

Lately I’ve been feeling like a fraud. In an attempt to keep things in a positive light, I often write or take public opinions that gloss over bad behavior or actions by others. Sometimes I do this because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or because it will make me look just as bad but most of the time I think I don’t have the courage.

It’s easier to stand by and do nothing. Back in a college sociology class, we discussed how a woman was killed while screaming for help. Although many people heard her, she died on the street. No one took action to help her. In this day and age, hopefully someone would at least call the police on their cell phone.

We can now text message or call the authorities and comfortably take action without having to actually involve ourselves. It’s somebody else’s job, right? I’ll just call and let them handle it instead of saying something to the troublemaker or coming to the rescue. Perhaps this is the answer for a society that will stand by and let awful things happen without helping. As humans, this may be all we are capable of doing – a text message.

Often when something bad is happening we shy away. We don’t want to put ourselves out there. Why should we take on the conflict ourselves? If we speak up, we might not be liked. We could be hurt, killed, or embarrassed.

What if you are the only person around when a conflict arises and the police won’t get there in time? What happens if you can’t hide behind your happy keyboard or convenient cell phone?

In cub scouts, I need to speak to my second grader about courage. The discussion is a requirement for him to become a Wolf. They also teach “moral courage” at his school. The teachers playact situations to demonstrate that students should do the right thing even when no one else is.

What forms should courage take? Is a text message enough? What actions should we take to help someone? How should we act on the truth?

My son will to great lengths to defend the people he cares about. As a protective mother, I’ll talk about having courage and making safe choices.

A friend from college always says that he’s afraid he will act in a crisis and lay his life down for others. This has always shocked me because I’ve always been afraid that I wouldn’t.

Each of us may think we know how far we will go to help someone or right a situation, but who knows what will occur under pressure. We have our own personal amount of courage for each situation and sometimes we need to find it.


  1. What is more difficult (and perhaps more courageous) than defending a person is defending an idea among people who you know will not favor the idea being defended. The very close corollary to this is attacking an idea which you sincerely believe should be attacked, because you believe it is both harmful and too-easily accepted without question. The social cost of such an attack can be high. Who is willing to jeopardize relationships and risk pariah status in order to serve truth?

  2. Perhaps back in January I perceived the future and having to defend my position. I didn't connect these posts in my head.

    For me it's always easier to avoid defending an idea. Mic, I always admired your ability to do so, but never feel comfortable in that role (except with Whit). Ha! Ha! Maybe the wind of change is coming.