The Act of Choosing Courage
We are often faced with situations where we choose the option that is the most comfortable for us, without even thinking to consider the alternative. Oftentimes this is because the alternative isn’t nearly as comfortable and requires an act of courage to even get started. But the next time that you are given an opportunity to rise to a challenge, and you chose to sit this one out, consider what you learn from it, and whether you believe you are doing something that will help inspire later acts of courage to yourself, as well as the example that you are setting for your daughter.
When we chose to pass up opportunities because we are afraid of failure, or afraid to be courageous, we are saying that it is okay to always take the easy way out. It can be difficult, especially if you have gotten used to watching others progress from the sidelines, but it’s important to remember that you are setting an example and that you may also be subconsciously turning down later opportunities that haven’t even arisen yet.
Choosing to pick courage over comfort isn’t as easy as flicking a switch in your mind. It takes work, patience, and most of all, persistence. Because it takes so much effort, the sooner you begin to help your daughter learn these skills, the better. When faced with something new where your daughter is given an option on how to proceed, help her think about how it makes her feel to make both decisions, instead of immediately ruling one out. Feeling that discomfort that is brought on by fear and thinking “What’s the worst that could happen?” can oftentimes make you realize that the worst that can happen is just discomfort, and that the place you’ll be afterwards is a brighter place. Children can have wild imaginations, so when listening to your daughter list off all of the possibilities, don’t immediately shoot them down. Instead, hear her out and listen to her explain why it is a possibility. Just talking it through can help her realize that it isn’t a likely outcome.
Help your daughter learn by talking her through what courage means, but also utilize your own opportunities for courage as a teaching moment. When given one of these opportunities, take the time to explain your choices to your daughter and remind her that the reason you are making the tougher decision is not to make things harder on yourself, but to be able to face your fears and come out stronger on the other side. Think back to all of the times that you chose courage over comfort. While you may be able to think of examples where you were courageous, remember that your daughter is still growing up and the decisions that she must make are worlds different from the ones that you are making. While they may be different, she is still pulling from the same place within to find the courage to be brave. Imagine that she comes home from school one day and tells you that her friend is being picked on by her other classmates. While your first instinct might be to push yourself into the situation, use this as a teaching moment and ask your daughter what she would like to be seen done in the situation. Surely, she will want what will make her friend happy, but may fear the ramifications it could have with her other classmates. Remind her that her heart knows what is right, and that even though it might be scary, helping a friend is worth that fear. Having the courage to stand up to bullies and go to a teacher for help will strengthen her friendship and remind others that she is brave enough to stand up to those who hurt both her and her friends.
Once your daughter has learned to choose courage over comfort, you will both learn that nothing can hold her back from acting as her true self. You will feel stronger as a mother for sharing a special teaching moment with her, and your daughter will have a mom to look up to and remember when she is faced with a tough decision.