Courage: It is a valuable skill to be able to control your fear in the face of danger or pain. Bravery is a virtue and a quality that you should look for in friends and strive to hold yourself; you will be surprised to see what you can push yourself to do when you surmount your fears. Don’t be afraid to encourage others when you feel brave; others may need a leader to guide them. When do you practice bravery? What do you regard as a courageous act? Do you have the courage to face your fears willingly? If you do not, how might you attain it? When have you felt courage? Do you gain courage from others? How can one gain courage?
Courage can be a difficult response to summon. Have you ever been so frightened that your body shook uncontrollably? At some point during this scary situation, did you scream, breathe hard, or otherwise draw attention to yourself? Certainly, you are not alone in how you react to extreme fear. Although, we are all capable of mustering courage in the frightful situations, sometimes we commit to the latter of the “fight or flight” response to survive.
Cassidy Stay, on the other hand, is a 15 year-old girl who displayed immense courage after being shot in the head by her aunt’s ex-husband, Ron Haskell. Haskell posed as a delivery driver in an attempt to gain entry into the young lady’s house to find his ex-wife. After Cassidy turned him away, he returned, broke the door down and, after questioning the whereabouts of his ex-wife, proceeded to execute each member of the family by firing a bullet into the back of their heads. Though Cassidy’s parents and four siblings (ages 4-14) lay dead next to her, and she herself was shot and suffering from a fractured skull, she played dead long enough for Haskell to leave.
In an act that can only be described as heroic, Cassidy was able to put aside her fear and the grief for her murdered family so that she could call the sheriff’s office to warn them that Haskell was on his way to her grandparent’s house. Luckily, the sheriffs arrested Haskell before he could commit another atrocity. According to Cassidy, hope [see “Hope” blog] and her resulting courage were the consequence of remembering a line from a Harry Potter movie, where Professor Dumbledore declares, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Certainly, this thought is profound and has utility in situations that are less severe, but scary none the less. Cassidy serves as an example to us that we all can find our courage in everyday situations by remembering that all hope is not lost. The fact that we still have loved ones who need and depend on us should be more than enough support to convince each of us that we are powerful and consequential.