This is the first in the “Six Types of Courage” that we will explore in-depth. We hope you’ve already had the chance to read over our page called “The Six Types of Courage” for a brief overview of our definitions. The examples we give for each type of courage may apply to your children and/or to you —please keep in mind, when you are reading this post, that some of these examples may involve taking “baby steps” on your way to physical courage! Every step towards courage is worthwhile and important.
“If you worried about falling off the bike you’d never get on.” Lance Armstrong
“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” John Wayne
Physical courage is the type most people think of first, the one that allows us to risk discomfort, injury, pain or even death—running into burning buildings as a firefighter, facing an enemy on the battlefield, undergoing chemotherapy, climbing a mountain, protecting a child from a dangerous animal. We are right to be wary of pain: pain tells us where our boundaries and limits are. However, sometimes there are things more important than pain, and our physical fear becomes a border to be crossed. Physical fear is often blown entirely out of proportion: pain is often greater in anticipation than in fact, and that dread can become an insurmountable barrier. Physical courage also involves recognizing that your body is how you participate in the world; keeping it healthy, strong, and resilient prepares you for all kinds of challenges, not just physical ones.
This inspiring video from TED.com gives us a great example of a woman confronting seemingly insurmountable barriers through physical courage. It’s about seventeen minutes long; if you don’t have time now, please watch it later. It’s well worth it. Teaser: she rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean!
teach your kids how to meet dogs (hint: ask the owner first!)
set a physical fitness goal for the whole family and bring all members of the family into the process; if that means losing weight and exercising together so everyone is more healthy it will be a big job, but it’s a courage challenge worth doing!