Courage feels anything but natural to me. It takes that deep down, soul convincing push for me to jump into courage. If I'm convinced that I can't do something, it takes a huricane of conflicting thoughts to convince me otherwise.
My little Hal takes after me in the area of courage. When she was small she seemed anything but reserved. When she was 20 months she was willing to sleep on the top bunk, and climb to the top of the jungle gym at the park all by herself. But as she grows I can see fear trying to creep into her heart and her mind. She's intimidated by dogs, and steers away from anything that moves fast (like bikes, rides...). She's the kid that double checks her seatbelt and pulls on it a couple times just to make sure that it's tight enough to hold in her scrawny little body before the car starts to move.
Yesterday we went to Legoland California. (For free, thanks to Aunt Lisa! Thanks friend!) I know that my little Hal does not really care for the rides. I never make her go on anything but I try to encourage her to try. Because for her, a hurricane of encouragement is needed to convince her to jump into the unknown.
Siah on the other hand, has his own handful of reservations. He won't sleep on the top bunk. He won't climb to the top of the jungle gym. But without hesitation he'll march right up to the roller coaster, and ride in a seat next to a perfect stranger while Hal and I ride in the seat in front of him...
We slowly crept up that seemingly never-ending hill to the absurdly steep drop into speed, wind in our hair, and weightlessness in our stomachs. Hal was holding onto me for dear life. I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. As we crossed over into our first drop, I looked back at Siah and he had his hands high up in the sky and the most priceless smile across his glowing face. At the bottom of the drop he was laughing his contagious belly laugh. I looked down at Hal. Her head was buried in my armpit and her eyes were squeezed shut. She had a death grip on my shirt.
She wasn't crying. She was enduring.
She had mustered up the courage to try.
When we got off the ride she said,
"Mama. I did it, but I was scared and I didn't like it. But I did it."
And Siah said,
"WOOOOOHOO!!!! I'm gonna tell Papa I rode that giant roller coaster!!!!"
That's what courage is.
Courage doesn't always guarantee the kind of outcome we want. Sometimes we come out on the other side belly-laughing and overflowing with exuberant joy. But equally as often we just need to be willing to practice courage, even if it doesn't end up being our favorite thing.
Yesterday I was overwhelmingly proud of both of my treasures! It was a monumental day of courage for both of them, even though the outcome was totally different for each of them.