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#182558 - 09/18/09 07:09 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
Andy Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 378
Loc: SE PA
Originally Posted By: dweste

To get a bit philosophical, Edmund Burke said something like, all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

It is my belief that courage is a learned behavior at least in part and, as such, can and should be be expressly taught, learned, and practiced.

Courage is best learned by example. Whatever courage I have has come from the example my 'greatest generation' parents set for me. Courage for me is honesty, loyalty, personal responsibility, compassion, service, tolerance and belief in the collective good. It is making the "hard" choices a matter of instinct not analysis.

One of the many stories my dad told us around the dinner table was that when he was "volunteered" onto the Manhattan Project by Gen. Groves he was offered an Army commission. He turned it down because he did not think it honorable to wear the uniform and not take the responsibility and risk of a soldier*. I'm sure that led many to question his sense of duty since he remained a civilian during the war. Especially since he couldn't talk about his work.

But that example of values and, in my mind, courage, has influenced my life just as the many other examples my parents put before my siblings and I.

So while I heartily applaud Blast (and others) for his explicit lessons of courage for his kids, I would suggest the inferred lessons his kids get from the examples he and his wife set everyday are even more effective in building their courage potential. From what we all know about Blast I'm sure his kids will be courageous as all heck. I mean just living in Blast's neighborhood takes courage....

*It must also be said, so as to maintain full disclosure, that the fact that DuPont paid better than the Army was an important factor for a young father of two. But if you knew my Dad you knew that was only a benefit, not a reason.
In a crisis one does not rise to one's level of expectations but rather falls to one's level of training.

#182581 - 09/18/09 10:49 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: Andy]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I think courage also comes from knowing that someone is there to back you up. I first thought of my son, who knows that if he is addressing an adult, if he gets nervous I am there to assist him.

With receptionists at my business, they know that if they are doing the right thing and the consumer is harsh to them that the manager will protect them, back them up. By them trying and then having someone of authority follow up, it fosters an atmosphere that it is okay to get out of the comfort zone to do the right thing until they can do what needs to be done without assistance.

I then thought of rappelling. It takes a leap of faith, courage, to step off that ledge. But they draw courage from the competence of the people around them.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#182605 - 09/19/09 02:11 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: paramedicpete]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Let me try this, following the Wikipedia definitions, if it was your job:

How would you teach moral courage?

How would you teach physical courage?

#182612 - 09/19/09 04:56 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Can I be a bit peevish first? I disagree defining courage as bravery. I know, know, in most dictionary's they are synonymous. But bravery in the real world is the absence of fear. And quite honestly any one can appear to be brave because they simply lack the intelligence to appreciate the danger ahead of them. They don't know enough to be afraid.

I think courage, physical or moral, is a firmness of the heart and mind, that when you know what your doing has an element of danger, 'letting it all hang out', when knowing what your about to say or what do makes your mouth dry, stomach flutter and knees shake, you continue to go forward with that fear in you. To me that is courage.

You can see it in the eyes. Most brave people seem as such because they just don't get the danger. A courageous person absolutely understands it and yet does what must be done because its the right thing to do.

Maybe I am slicing the baloney too thin. But its a distinction I prefer.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#182621 - 09/19/09 09:40 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: comms]
Eric Offline

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Iowa
I'll agree with comms that courage and bravery are not the same but I disagree with his definition of bravery.

Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is continuing on in the face of fear or not letting your fears dictate your actions.

Courage is harder to define. It is doing the right thing or persevering due to your personal convictions despite the odds or cost.

As an example, walking on a very high ledge may require bravery if you are afraid of heights, but doesn't require usually require courage. Courage may also be involved if there is a driving motivation - like trying to save someone vs just taking a high risk walk.

If you aren't afraid you cannot be brave, you are fearless and can appear to be brave.

If there is no cause, cost or effort involved you are not demonstrating courage.

I firmly believe that both of these can be taught, learned and practiced but like any skill some people will have greater ability than others when called on to exercise the skill.

Well that's my $0.02 worth,

- Eric
You are never beaten until you admit it. - - General George S. Patton

#182641 - 09/19/09 04:46 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: Eric]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
"The difference between being a coward and a man is not whether you're scared, it's what you do while you're scared."
- SSgt Jeff Struecker, 3 OCT 1993
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#182659 - 09/20/09 01:53 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: thseng]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
I suppose recycling the "trust/teambuilding" exercises like falling backwards with eyes closed trusting others to catch you, zip-lining, or walking across a couple yards of coals would allow you to teach/learn/practice physical courage.

Tougher for me to think how to do the same for moral courage.


#182668 - 09/20/09 04:48 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Maybe role-playing could be used to teach/learn/practice moralcourage.

#182722 - 09/21/09 12:33 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
My father had a simple maxim: "Do what's right, come what may."

It can help to look at things like that. Sometimes what makes a situation seem complicated is thinking about the likely bad consequences for oneself that one will have to deal with afterwards. Sometimes when you just ask yourself what the right thing to do is, it's actually pretty obvious. It can still take courage to do it, but clarity and focus helps.
Quality is addictive.

#182724 - 09/21/09 01:02 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3684
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: dweste
Maybe role-playing could be used to teach/learn/practice moralcourage.

Cool, I'll be a half-Elven ranger seeking revenge after his town was destroyed by Orcs!


p.s. Oh, come on, at least half of you were thinking the same thing! grin
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