Last week we talked about the value of honesty. The essential part of honesty means being authentic in all you do. This brings into play our value of this week, COURAGE. It takes a lot of courage to live authentically, especially today, when healthy, natural living may not be everyone’s priority.
I think about the issues that have come up in my own family as my boys are invited into others homes where kids play with guns, watch violent cartoons or play non-stop video games. It takes courage as a parent and courage as a child to be able to explain our differences and say “I’d rather not”. It takes courage sometimes to stop a relationship that feels uncomfortable at the cost of perhaps hurting another’s feelings.
It takes courage to be different.
Growing up, I had a shy streak. It took me many years to be courageous enough to step out and express completely who I am. While I do not consider myself an extremist, there are many areas, especially those concerning my own children that I am passionate about. I insist on an education full of rich, nurturing content. That means consistently teaching homegrown values that they may not get anywhere else.
It takes courage to go against the grain. It takes courage to forget what others think is so important in life in life and create your own standards. But then courage comes easy as you realize that it was only the fear holding you back. Once you experience your liberation and slip into the role you really want to be in, life becomes pure joyful and you never want to turn back!
When your own children show courage in something, compliment them. Tell them how proud you are of them for standing up for what they believe in! Kids need to hear this from parents. The encouragement makes them feel proud of themselves! It also makes it easier next time to again do the right thing. Teaching courage to children means being a living example of courage yourself: doing the right thing, again and again.
Praise their attempts to be courageous even if it doesn’t always work out. They tried! If your child tells a lie and then comes back and tells you the truth, praise them for being courageous enough to tell you the truth even though it was hard. I do not punish my children for lying when they are courageous enough to them tell me the truth. Although they can definitely see that I was disappointed they lied, they also get a big hug for coming clean! It takes courage to tell the truth after you lied about something.
Tells stories about how it’s not always easy to be different from what others are saying or doing… but that it is courageous when you are living in alignment with your values. This helps children recognize peer pressure and teaches them to be strong in their own values and ethics. All values seem tied together in one way or another. Being courageous means having enough self-esteem to stand up for what you feel is right, even in the face of adversity. Share stories with your children of how you have stood up for what is right and practice this daily as well.
Have a wonderful week my dear friends as you practice courage with your own children!