I recently read an interview with Malcom Gladwell in which he mentioned his belief that people are not born brave, they learn to be brave.
I agree completely. I also believe we don't know how fearless we can be unless faced with the unfaceable. The unthinkable. And then come through the other side.
At first I interpreted this to mean that something terrible has to happen to you for you to 'be brave'. But perhaps facing fears in lots of small ways can make you brave too.
I put 'bravery' on my list of most wanted attributes for my kids because I want nothing to hold them from being everything they can. When Brodie is frightened or apprehensive I make a real effort to communicate to him that being scared is ok. It's normal, healthy even. What's important though is doing it anyway no matter what it is. Being truly brave is not the absence of fear, but feeling that fear and carrying on.
I don't want my children to be reckless, ever. Brodie is quite cautious by nature and that suits me just fine. It's just that as an adult I know that the fear of embarassment or failure has held me back from certain things. I also know that the few regrets I carry with me are all things I failed to go through with rather than things I did which went horribly wrong.
I want Brodie and Grier to explore the world as freely as possible. I want Greig and I to provide a springboard and safe place to come home to. I want them to face challenges eye to eye, knowing that everything they need to succeed is already inside them. A lot of the things lots of us are scared of are not really that scary, we've just learned that they are through our interactions with others. We let other people put limits on what we can achieve before we've even taken the time to dream up what we want to achieve.
So B and G, I hope when faced with challenges big and small you can face them head on.
Show me how big your brave is.