As much as I'd like to say that was an original thought on my behalf, I'd be lying. It came from the movie, "The Help", a story concerning blacks and whites in the south and the relationships between the slave/maids and their owner/boss. Courage was prevalent throughout the show......first from the maids ability to weather tremendous amounts of disrespect.....to the wherewithal of a young white woman who chose to write a book about the maids and the treatment they received in her southern city.
What type of a role model had her mother been to the little southern belle? Well, not much really, that is until shows end. It was then that the mother realized her daughter had stepped out of the stereotypical attitudes of the town and had forged her own ideas as to the worth and respect the black women should have been given. In many cases, the maids were more of a mother to the children than their own biological parent. The mother's remark, "courage sometimes skips a generation" was as much a smack at her own deficiencies. But truthfully she could have been speaking on behalf of millions of people who let "things happen", by turning the other cheek. Why?...because their afraid of any kickback to a status in life they think they are entitled to. And oh, how wrong we are on that account?
|It can seem this daunting to have courage.........|
The dictionary offers this nice little package of words to describe the action. "The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. But it's not that simple. If it was, I believe we'd see it far more of it than we do. So, I wonder, why is that?
Author Steve Maraboli offers this response, which is pretty right on. "People who lack the clarity, courage or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. When you change for the better, the people around you will be inspired to change also...but only after doing their best to make you stop. Live your truth and don't EVER stop".
And then there is our former President John F. Kennedy who stated, "In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience--the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men--each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.
If I think a little deeper on the subject, I see two forms of courage. One comes from a direct plan.....going against the grain, so to speak, where you are a risk taker. The other has to do with a reaction to something, say for instance, the type of courage Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta exhibited in Afghanistan in 2007. For his actions in an ambush of the eight members of his 1st Platoon ....heroic by all standards, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The first living soldier to have received such an honor since World War II.
Giunta remarked, "In this job, I am only mediocre. I'm average. I did what I did because in the scheme of painting the picture of that ambush, that was just my brush stroke. That's not above and beyond. I didn't take the biggest brush stroke, and it wasn't the most important brush stroke. Hearing the Medal of Honor is like a slap in the face".
I'm sure it took courage for Giunta to utter those remarks. But isn't that what so much of this is about? When the easy way out is right in front......when Giunta could have taken all the glory....he opted to go the other way.....knowing that his fellow soldiers were equally important that particular day. Courage is not something easily achieved. It takes an individual who is resolute and focused. And those seem few and far between any more. Perhaps that's why we see it skip a generation. And in the world we live in now, that's a doggone shame.