“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. (Atticus Finch)”
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
There's a lot of talk these days about courage and cowardice. Each of us has our own definition for these two concepts. I happen to like Harper Lee's. Courage is not pulling out a gun and shooting someone. It is not blowing up buildings and killing children. Courage is not driving an explosive-laden van into a crowd of complete strangers and detonating it. Courage is laying down your weapons, and talking face to face with your enemies to see what can be worked out between you. Courage is found in informing oneself about the facts of any given scenario—looking at the science, for instance—not taking decisions based on emotion or self-interest. Courage is found in being able to respectfully listen to the ideas and opinions of others even when they differ from your own. Courage is changing your mind when you see that you are wrong. It takes tremendous courage to say: “I was wrong. I'm sorry. Let's try it your way.” A brave person stands in the face of fear, and does not back down, but only when he/she has the facts to back him/her up. Courage means speaking up for what is right, even though you will lose something important to you in the process. In other words, it takes courage to be just.
The coward tramples and bullies other people because they are insignificant to him/her. The coward insists on having his/her own way and powers over others, even when he/she could reach out a helping hand. The coward values revenge over harmony, and chaos over peace. The coward demands what is beneficial to him/herself and expects the rest of the world to get on board. And, if the rest of the world differs, too bad. The coward takes and does not give back.
We have opportunities every single day to chose between these two poles. Over time, small choices add up to something very big. If we are courageous in the small choices we make, in the end, those choices will change the world.
In the Spirit,