I often remind my kids that being brave doesn't mean doing things that don't scare you. It means facing things that scare you and doing them anyway. It's part of being a 261 Fearless Ambassador. (Read: Running Pittsburgh's Great Race). July has just started and already this summer has been full of small moments of bravery. Here are seven.
1. Bravery can mean apologizing about something you've done wrong. Like punching a tooth out of your brother's mouth during a backyard soccer game. Bravery can also mean accepting an apology even when you were really more angry than hurt because the tooth needed to come out anyway and you shouldn't taunt people.
I don't force my kids to apologize though because words are hard for some of them. (Read: How to Help Kids Say Sorry, Forgive and Forget).
2. Bravery can mean doing what needs to be done. Like having teeth extracted, even when you don't want to. The oldest needed to have three teeth taken out to make room for his adult teeth. And four more adult teeth have to come out. He didn't want to do it, but he did it. Sounds like it's not just his teeth that are moving toward adulthood.
3. Bravery can mean facing a physical fear. Like falling out of a ropes course when you're fifty feet up. I've done ropes courses before - under duress. (Read: Fearless Forty!) but this time my oldest and I did this voluntarily. A few rungs up that first wobbly rope ladder he turned back and gave me a look of anxiety. I told him we could this, and we did.
4. Bravery can mean learning something new. This summer, the youngest learned to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels. He's only 6. I didn't learn until I was 9. But now he's able to bike around with me and his brothers. He was absolutely tenacious about learning but also set a good example by keeping a positive attitude even when he was struggling so hard to stay balanced. I wish I had that kind of mentality!
5. Bravery can mean facing a social fear. This summer the boys aren't going to a daycare camp. It's all new camps and new people and new experiences every other week or so. And that's scary. We showed up for the first day of Ultimate Sports Camp late and when the boys saw the crowd of 200 or so kids gathered on the field, their first words were "No. No way."
It wasn't the first time I've had to push my kids to try something new and scary. (Read: Do you push your fearful kid?)
But by the end of the week, they said they'd be back next year. And that when they were older they might be coaches. Now that's bravery.
6. Bravery can mean admitting the thing you did isn't as good as it could be so you go back and work on it some more. I've written more than one novel, but I've only revised one novel to a really good version that I felt proud to submit to agents. The thing is, it's still not good enough. I need to go back and work on it some more, but I've been avoiding it because it's icky and painful to admit that all that hard work was good but not good enough. Yet. Hopefully I will learn as I revise (again) how to revise my other novels better the first (and second, and third times).
7. Bravery can mean trying something you've failed at before. Like a triathlon. Two years ago, I decided at the last minute to jump into the Presque Isle triathlon, counting on past open water experiences to carry me through the rather short swim. It didn't work. (Read: The Scarlett DNF.) But this year, I'm doing it right. I'm registered early and preparing, every day, a little at a time. Because I want to be brave.
What small moments of bravery have made you proud?