We believe that breaking down fears into manageable tasks is the best way to build courage. With these "workout" programs, we hope you will help your child learn to take on some of the big tasks in his or her heroic journey. We've isolated quick exercises you can practice with your children to help build up their courage muscles, no matter what age you start them at, from toddler to teen. We've also highlighted which of the six types of courage these exercises help to develop.
Remember: as with all exercise workouts, these will be most effective if they are practiced regularly! So grab some Lion's Whiskers and help your child grow in courage!
1. Navigating the Neighborhood -- Help your child learn how to find her way in the world. Why is this important? Being able to find your way in the world is both a metaphorical and a practical matter. Physical courage? Yes. But also potentially social courage, emotional courage, moral courage, and spiritual courage.
2. Playing with Fire -- Learning how to manage one of life's most powerful, productive and potentially dangerous forces. Managing a dangerous power without getting hurt or hurting someone else is a life skill for a whole life. This is a physical courage, and depending on what "dangerous power" we're discussing, a matter of intellectual or emotional courage.
3. A Fate Worse Than Death -- The baby steps of public speaking, the #1 fear of most adults! Social and moral courage often require us to stand up and speak out loud in front of an audience that may be friendly or not to our ideas. Let's make sure our kids are not too shy to open their mouths and say what they believe in.
4. Home Alone -- Help your child feel comfortable being alone in the house, well-prepared for both self-amusement and safety. For some this will be an emotional courage challenge, for some it will be intellectual, and for some it will be social.
5. It's a Dog Eat Dog World -- Dogs are ubiquitous in human environments, and learning peaceful co-existence is an important step for your child. This is a physical courage challenge for most kids.
6. Saying I'm Sorry - Is this the hardest thing of all to learn?! For little kids who equate apologies with getting into trouble, through teens who sometimes begrudge even the smallest concession, saying "I'm sorry," is an important emotional courage skill.
Talking Dirty - Does getting messy freak out your child? Does it freak you out? Full engagement with the world often means literally getting our hands dirty, and this workout can help your child, or you, overcome squeamishness and germophobia. It may require physical courage, but it's really more likely to call upon emotional or social courage.
8. Thinking Outside the Box -- We all get stuck in the trap of "being right," or believing there is only one answer or one correct solution to a problem or challenge. These quick exercises in divergent thinking can help your child develop more intellectual courage.
9. Say a Little Prayer for Me -- If it's true that most fears can be traced back to existential terror, then finding a spiritual anchor may help put things into perspective. Meaning and purpose can add value to even mundane activities, and help us to set goals. These quick exercises in empathy, gratitude, and acceptance of reality can help bolster your child's spiritual courage.
10. Pull Up a Chair and Make Yourself Uncomfortable -- Physical courage is often a question of managing our relationship to pain or discomfort. Building tolerance for discomfort can open the door to more direct, joyful, physical interaction with the world around us.
11. Stop Dominating Me! -- Routines and habits can help us in many ways, but they can also hold us back from new experiences, or from examining old experiences with a fresh perspective. Taking a look at the habits that dominate our lives can show us where we may need to build more of all the six types of courage.
12. Fair is Fair -- Learning the difference between "fair" and "equal" is a challenge some folks never learn! Simple exercises in justice, impartiality, and discernment may help your child develop the moral courage to take the true meaning of these words to heart.