As Americans, we often live vicariously through the heroic deeds of others. We applaud and salute the dedication and commitment of our Military Service personnel. We read, watch, and hear about valiant efforts of our men and woman in civilian uniform - such as our police, fire, and rescue. We cheer loudly at the "heroic" efforts of our local sports heroes. Yet we rarely stop to recognize and applaud the bravery that is required from our children to be successful in and outside the classroom.
At one time or another, all have nervously looked away as the instructor called upon us to answer a question. We have sheepishly declined a trip to the blackboard to solve a problem. We all have had questions for the instructor and yet our arm remained glued to our side. The reasons and rationale are many of why we dare not. Some of us fear failure, others fear disapproval from peers, while others fear how they will be perceived after the question is asked. I have no doubt that all of us have been uncomfortable with our ignorance at some period – however, some were brave enough to move beyond this place of "discomfort". There is nothing wrong with not knowing - it is however, a tragedy to wish to remain in that deplorable state of ignorance. Much like their parents, far too many youth today are in this zone. Moreover, if educators, mentors, and parents do not teach and encourage them to be brave – there they will remain.
Many of our youth think they know what it means to be brave. However, very few realize that it takes more than just bravado, muscle, or “swag”. We must teach our youth what it truly means to be bold and brave - in and outside of the classroom. We must teach our students to define themselves through their thoughts, words, and deeds. We must be honest with our students and tell them that there always will be certain things that are beyond their control. Teach them not to be afraid when they encounter persons who are better prepared; or when they are confronted with new environments and opportunities. Teach them to concentrate on those things that they can control - such as excellence; character, hard work, and values. If ever there was a time for all of us to be brave, it is now. Our children can be neither complacent nor afraid to go beyond what is comfortable, convenient or familiar. Parents and educators need to be courageous enough to believe; our children need to be brave enough to dream; and all of us need to be daring enough to try. Then, and only then, will this truly be the the "land of the brave".
"Hold fast to dreams"
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