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#182500 - 09/18/09 01:32 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: Jeff_M]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
From Wikipedia:

"Courage, also known as bravery, will, intrepidity, and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement."

The power of peer pressure and the desire to conform is immense. Many institutiions squash courage as disruptive.

If we do not praise and teach courage, then we cannot be suprised at its lack.

Edit: I think everyone can increase thier ability to summon courage by practice.


Edited by dweste (09/18/09 01:33 AM)

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#182516 - 09/18/09 08:46 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
There are some key elements here:

1. Acting with the knowledge that there will be very undesirable consequences: "This will really hurt." I'm not referring to cases where someone acts in ignorance or in hopefulness that somehow they'll escape consequence.

2. Acting when not doing so carries no consequence. There is no doubt a firefighter is brave for running in a burning house to save a baby, but what of a neighbor? No one will fault the neighbor for not doing so, and I consider it a different kind of courage when risk avoidance is clearly acceptable.

3. Acting without expectation of reward. People often do things expecting reward money or publicity, but sometimes there's no expectation of any reward: they expect no more reward than the knowledge that they did the right thing. The motivation is internal rather than external.

There are a lot of different situations, but choosing to act in the face of likely consequence with no expectation of compensation is my starting point.

PS. I realize #3 isn't about courage but it is something I consider significant.

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#182517 - 09/18/09 11:00 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
James, I disagree. I think that #3 is VERY courageous. I think that that embodies the motivation behind courage. If you are doing it for some external reward, it isnt courageous in my book. Its being selfish-putting yourself before others. After all, if the reward outweighs the risk, your motivation is YOU, not THEM. I really think that courage just happens; we see examples of it, all the time. Most of it is relatively minor, non-newsreel stuff, but it happens every day. I think that an act of courage is altruistic; putting aside fear for the sake of another (or self, in some cases).
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#182519 - 09/18/09 11:13 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: oldsoldier]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Originally Posted By: oldsoldier
James, I disagree. I think that #3 is VERY courageous. I think that that embodies the motivation behind courage. If you are doing it for some external reward, it isnt courageous in my book. Its being selfish-putting yourself before others. After all, if the reward outweighs the risk, your motivation is YOU, not THEM. I really think that courage just happens; we see examples of it, all the time. Most of it is relatively minor, non-newsreel stuff, but it happens every day. I think that an act of courage is altruistic; putting aside fear for the sake of another (or self, in some cases).


I am not sure, but I think that is what James meant.
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#182520 - 09/18/09 11:15 AM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Originally Posted By: James_Van_Artsdalen
There are some key elements here:

1. Acting with the knowledge that there will be very undesirable consequences: "This will really hurt." I'm not referring to cases where someone acts in ignorance or in hopefulness that somehow they'll escape consequence.

2. Acting when not doing so carries no consequence. There is no doubt a firefighter is brave for running in a burning house to save a baby, but what of a neighbor? No one will fault the neighbor for not doing so, and I consider it a different kind of courage when risk avoidance is clearly acceptable.

3. Acting without expectation of reward. People often do things expecting reward money or publicity, but sometimes there's no expectation of any reward: they expect no more reward than the knowledge that they did the right thing. The motivation is internal rather than external.

There are a lot of different situations, but choosing to act in the face of likely consequence with no expectation of compensation is my starting point.

PS. I realize #3 isn't about courage but it is something I consider significant.


This is one of the better posts I have read in some time.
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#182526 - 09/18/09 12:20 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: Blast]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Interesting reply Blast, we did something similar with our 3 kids.

My son was very shy about going to school when he was 4 years old, every morning was a struggle to get him on the bus. Over time this fear slowly faded but would arise ocassionally whenever he faced new or different situations.

When he was in Grade 1, the entire class participated in "Story Telling", where the children stood at the front of the class and told a short story about there life. My son was terrified the first year, but each year he became more confident and soon started to enter Public Speaking competitions. His new interest in this filter down to his 2 younger sisters and all 3 now have the confidence to speak in front of large groups of people.

Many youth sports, activities and organizations expose kids to new experiences. In this way courage is developed by confronting challanges and overcoming obstacles.

Mike


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#182547 - 09/18/09 04:48 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: SwampDonkey]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
The reason for my post is that I am struggling to get clarity. Courage is, of course, one of many possible human behaviors so it "is in there."

But it is my observation that many give in to pressure from peers and authority figures even when they know the should at least question what is going on because courage is not often well-regarded. Many do not act with courage.

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.

Relevant to this forum, I specifically believe courage is a survival skill. I believe we can learn to act in ways that increase our chances of survival in circumstances that cause fear.

Sorry to ramble on; trying to find the handle!


Edited by dweste (09/18/09 04:48 PM)

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#182555 - 09/18/09 06:23 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3684
Loc: TX
What this conversation needs is a campfire, a starry night, and large bottle of good bourbon. smile

Science has shown that risk-takers/thrill-seekers do have a physical/chemical difference in their brains that sets them apart from "regular" people. So in that sense there is a "born with it" side to the courage equation. I still think that people can build up some courage just by forcing themselves to display it in the everyday, little stuff. I'm thinking along the lines of "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger".

Back to teaching people how to be courageous, installing a strong moral code in them also helps. Not just a belief in God or Whatever, but a belief in right and wrong. Having that to help support them will help them have the courage needed to do right, whether it be telling a friend "no" or throwing themselves on a hand grenade to protect their buddies.

-Blast, taking a sip and then passing the bottle on

p.s. Any women want to chime in? I'd really like to hear your thoughts/opinions on this subject! I'll even find you a glass so you don't have to drink straight from the bottle. wink
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#182556 - 09/18/09 06:50 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: Blast]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Taking the quick way down the side of the Matterhorn. cool

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm8fqzxW0Tw

Courage or Adrenaline junkie?


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#182557 - 09/18/09 07:04 PM Re: Teaching, learning, and practicing courage. [Re: dweste]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I think it may be hard to pin down courage as being a particular thing, due to our different experiences, values and perceptions. Courage like compassion, empathy, selflessness, self-sacrifice, is an attribute that we seek to develop and practice. We seek to encourage this characteristic in our children, but we cannot make them courageous any more than we make them compassionate. We can guide them, we can become and provide them with role models, but ultimately courage comes from one’s inner being.

For me, courage has an important difference than many other attributes, in that courage comes to us or perhaps more correctly the situation with which we have the potential to demonstrate courage is not of our making. We can take positive actions on our terms to be charitable, thoughtful, respectful, but with true courage the situation comes to us, in ways and times we have little, if no control over and it is up to us to respond in courageous manner.

Pete

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