7 Ways To Teach Your Children To Be Brave
The definition of brave is having courage; valor. Synonyms include intrepidity, fearlessness, boldness, daring, prowess, heroism, pluck, audacity, nerve, mettle and spunk. Those are all certainly words we would love associated with our children. However, what is the essence of bravery? What is that certain quality we want to instill in our children that will make them brave when others cower? We will attempt to break that down in these 7 ways:
1. Set the Example
We talk often here about how the eyes of our children are always on us. That applies here most definitely. Our kids' prime examples of bravery are most likely going to come from you. Allow them to witness you stepping out of your comfort zones. If you are terrified of rollercoasters, face your fear with them and ride that monster at the park. Maybe you are afraid dancing makes you look like an idiot. Take dance classes with your wife and prove that notion wrong. When those moments happen when your character is tested in front of your child, show them the strength you possess to do the right thing. We are tested in a vast variety of ways daily. Be their hero.
2. Invoke Culture and Heritage
It is nearly impossible to complete a brave act without a reason for doing so. Our various cultures and our rich heritage provide the foundation for what we believe. "Son, you are a Thompson and we have a long history of standing on the side of justice." When we invoke family pride in that manner, we are invoking the heritage of our people and our nation. Teaching children their history and where they come from gives them the base they require to display courage and righteousness.
3. Point Out Real Life Role Models
When we think of heroes, we think of soldiers, fire fighters or police men and women. They all can certainly provide many examples of courage and valor. Go even further by giving them brave quotes from people in all walks of life. Such as this quote from actress Mary Tyler Moore that states, "You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." Perhaps you have a white board or chalkboard in your home. A weekly quote such as this for all to read is a great way to get developing minds thinking in the right direction.
4. Develop the Courage to Reach Out
Young children are very accepting of almost anyone. Eventually however, as is human nature, cliques will form and social groups will stick in the same patterns. Those that are "different" often wind up left out. Brave kids, the type of people that become adults that we desperately need in society, will step outside the boundaries of peer pressures. They will reach out to that child who is sitting alone in the lunch room or encourage and befriend the child burdened with a handicap. In the world our children live in daily, this is perhaps the strongest form of bravery. Wouldn't you be proud if it was your child who was that brave soul who dared to share good will towards everyone they encounter?
5. Differentiating When Violence Meets Bravery
When we consider bravery, most envision some sort of physical encounter—standing up to a bully, coming to the aid of a friend in harm's way, etc. This is when logic meets courage and, in most cases, logic should win the battle. For instance, the passengers of the doomed flight over Pennsylvania on 9/11 that made the decision to charge the hijackers displayed great courage as well as great logic. That act was meeting violence with violence for a just cause. They died with noble hearts. The opposite is true when we commit acts of violence in the name of bravery that logic otherwise deems to be stupidity. The trick here is to teach your child when it is necessary to be physically brave. Teach them righteous justice.
6. Constant Communication
There are no stats to prove this, but it could be contended that 99% of all problems could be solved with a little common sense and real and honest communication. Talk to your child constantly and openly. Share with her things that happened to you at her age and how you dealt with them. Encourage her and create an environment where she feels safe to share the important things going on her private life. If your child can openly talk to you about her problems, then you are able to help her come up with real solutions. Courage is basically wisdom, and much can be gained just by talking.
7. Spiritual Foundation
Our Creator has given us all the tools we need to be great human beings. Since that is the case, then within every living soul lies a brave heart. Give your child a solid and life-lasting spiritual foundation. God's Word has everything your child will need to know about courage and bravery.