Last week, I was teaching my kindergarteners about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Ron McNair (read the children’s picture book, Ron’s Big Mission if you are curious about him…it’s such a great story). It’s so hard for them to truly understand the huge impact these people made when they’re only 5 and 6 years old. So I tried to focus on a word they might be able to comprehend: Brave. I asked them what the word “brave” meant. They’re so sweet. There were lots of answers because they have no inhibitions or worries at that age. One was “when your mom makes you do something you hate, like getting a shot or taking yucky medicine.” I had to giggle as I imagined his mom telling him, “You HAVE to be brave!” while shoving medicine in his mouth! We finally put the answers together to come up with “When you’re scared of doing something, but you do it anyway.”
Sometimes these kids really put things in perspective for me. Many times, when we think of brave people, we think they have no fear. In reality though, that is absolutely not true! Do you think Rosa Parks wasn’t scared when she stayed in her seat on that bus? Do you think Ruby Bridges walked into that school past an angry mob without some fear inside of her? Absolutely not. What mattered was how they acted.
I’ve come to realize that bravery is more of an action than a feeling. Rarely do I feel brave. For instance, with the encouragement of my students (who had no idea that the lesson on bravery was inspiring their teacher!), I created this blog. I’ve been thinking of it for awhile, but it terrified me to think that nobody would find me interesting or that this would be a huge flop. “It’s fine!” I thought. “I don’t need a blog or one more thing on my plate. I’m fine without every trying my hand at blogging!” However, with really nothing to lose, I pushed the fear aside and acted brave. So what if it flops? At least I will have gained a new experience. I’m positive that we all have something that we’re avoiding because we’re afraid or it makes us uncomfortable. I encourage all of you to find that thing, count to five and just act brave. Nobody on the outside will know the difference and you’ll be SO proud of yourself when you do it! I’d love to hear about what you tackled!