Courage: making good choices

When we are faced with choices how can we be sure that we are going to make good choices, using our courage to do so.  All of us have faced choices where we became really nervous and I would dare say that all of us have made bad choices from time to time due to peer pressure or fears of some kind.  For us to make good choices though there are some simple things that we can do in that moment.



  1. Slow down.  Do not make a decision so fast that we don’t have time to clear our head and feel confident in our decision .
  2. Take some deep breaths.  Even in the most stressful situations we need to take this time to breath deeply.  This allows oxygen to get to our brain and for us to think more clearly.
  3. Talk to a trusted friend.  Who is it that you can trust to give you not just good advice but encouragement to do the correct thing based on your values.
  4. Use visioning or imaging.  Imagine in your mind the results and consequences if you choose to do one thing or the other.  See the results and check in to see how you feel about those results. If you are dealing with a fear instead of seeing yourself failing, imagine yourself completing your task successfully and imagine how you will feel when it is complete.  Using imagining can calm you down when you use it on a consistent basis.

Finally our courage can also be used to NOT do something that we know is not safe or fair.  When our conscious or ‘gut’ tells us to stop, if we are worried what our parents, mates or friends would think if they knew we were making choice to do something, it may be time to reexamine and be sure that it meets the values and ethics that are a deep part of ourselves.

Use the same steps from above to make the examination and be sure that we are making courageous decisions based on our internal influences and not the immediate external influences.  Maya Angelou voiced it well when she said; “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Courage: standing for what it is right

One of the hardest times to demonstrate courage is when we need to stand up for what is right or to do the right things when others are choosing to act in a manner that is not fair or not safe.  No matter our age we are all subjected to peer pressure.  Both adults and kids get in situations when there are injustices taking place, either by word or action, and we are confronted with the question if we are going to speak up to friends or leaders in our community.

This is very hard.  Ralph W. Sockman once said; “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”   It takes courage to speak up, but that is what leaders do.  Leaders lead the way and do what’s right even when it is hard to do.  They do what is right because it is the right thing to do, and not based on what others will think or do. 

How we develop the ability to do this is by making decisions based on internal values and not external values or influences.  It is not that we do not care what others think, we must have empathy for the feelings of others, but we have core values and a conscious that helps direct us into doing the right thing no matter the opinion or influences of others.  I have not spent anytime on the subject of teaching our children how to think for themselves, but I will put that on my list of things to write about,  but in very simple terms as  parents we must first and most importantly demonstrate that for our children.  If they see that we are influenced by what our peers have, say and do – they will act and react in the same manner, even in things that we thought that we taught them better in. 

How do we know though if an issue is to big for us to handle by ourselves?  If we are a child and we see something taking place that we know is not correct, good, safe, and fair to someone else and we do not know what to say or do – it is time to ask for the assistance of an adult.  If we are an adult and we do not know how to handle a situation or if it bigger than we are prepared for, it is OK to ask for help and advice.  That is what leaders do.  Great leaders always know when to ask for help.

Asking for help if we are not able to right a wrong is so much better than seeing an injustice and ignoring it, choosing not to be involved.  Being involved is what citizenship in our community is all about.

Courage: Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

Courage is one of the qualities that we want to see in our children.  Being willing to try new things and to know how to cope with our fears is very different that not being scared.  All of us feel scared and nervous from time to time.  But when those fears are based on our imagination or worry about what might happen, that is quite different than when there are real dangers. 

In our school we see it quite often that when a child comes in to try a new class – even if they want to be there the fear of the group or new situation overcomes them.  We are able to help them overcome that and act in a safe and courageous way.  This month we will be talking to our students about courage the following ways.  If you would like your child to have more courage why not try Balanced Life Skills Martial Arts.  We build courage in children and adults.

The definitions we will use for courage this month are:

Young students: “I feel brave!
Older students, teens and adults: Courage is the willingness to face fears and challenges with determination.

During the four weeks of September we will be discussing the following:

Week 1: Courage defined. What does courage mean?  What are people scared of?
Week 2: Taking healthy risks: How can I use courage to try new things and meet new people?
Week 3: Courage and Values:  How can I use courage to stand up for what I think is right and fair?
Week 4: Keeping control:  How can I calm myself down and make good decisions?

If you would like more information please feel free to call us and watch for discussions on this website. Take time this month to think about the times you have shown courage even when times were scary.  Share these experiences with your children in an age appropriate manner and they will see how strength of character has served you.

Thanks to all families in our community who continue to support the practice of Life, Art and Peace.

Courage: Definition

CourageSeptember word of the month at Balanced Life Skills is Courage.  Courage does not mean that you never are scared.  Everyone gets scared or has fears.  This month we will explore this even more, to find ways to try new things, meet new people, stand up for what is right and make good decisions.   Our students will learn the role that determination plays in facing our challenges.

Young students:

Courage means: I feel brave!

Older students:

Courage means: The willingness to face fears and challenges with determination.

There will be more discussions on this site of this word to help everyone discuss it with their own children and to look at it more deeply with themselves in the coming month. Check back with us or you may join our community for even more information.


Facing difficulties

Just this morning as I checked my email I received this message in part from one of my mentors. I could not believe how fitting it was for me at this time.
There’s a great reason not to be anxious about the difficulty you’re facing today – it contains a lesson. And once you master it, you will be much stronger and wiser.
Emmet Fox, wrote, “It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.”
“No person can be confronted with a difficulty which he has not the strength to meet and subdue… Every difficulty can be overcome if rightly dealt with; anxiety is, therefore, unnecessary. The task which cannot be overcome ceases to be a difficulty and becomes an impossibility… and there is only one way of dealing with an impossibility – namely to submit to it.”
— James Schuller
James Schuller’s words are so incredibly penetrating on this subject because he’s basically saying that there’s no problem that we should be anxious about. We can either solve it or it’s impossible to solve. Kind of reminds you of the Serenity Prayer doesn’t it? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
I have said to Mr. Doug on several occaisions over the last week – this is our test – Let us together show what it means to be a black belt. Thank you to everyone who has shown us support this past week.