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Courage Definition Essay

Courage by definition is “the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave” (Webster 325). Whether it is fighting for our country, risking your life to protect that of others, or simply being able to stand up for what you believe. In forming a good society, I believe, courage is a necessity. Courage is what helps us reach out to help others. Courage is what solidifies our beliefs.

Courage comes in a variety of ways, as shown in the novel The Happiness Hypotheses by Jonathan Haidt, who views courage as three principle character strengths. His first view of courage is valor; valor is the act of determination and boldness within a problematic situation. Another way Haidt perceives courage is through perseverance. Continuing to perform an act despite the challenges they are facing. Integrity is also a character strength as with it you are able to do what is right regardless of the consequences. Throughout Haidt’s book he focuses on this concept of “steering the elephant”.

Using this concept to explain courage I find can come in different ways. Courage can be seen as putting your trust into the elephant and letting it do what the elephant feels is right. It can also be having the ambition to train the elephant and directing its actions yourself. During last school year my sister came to pick me up from school because my father was in the Emergency Room. When I got there, my mother had told me that my dad’s medicine pump had stopped and blood was coming back through the tube. The doctors had my dad on an IV, but they had to get his pump working again immediately.

My father has Pulmonary Hypertension along with several other heart and lung diseases causing him to need continuous flow of his medicine. If his medicine is stopped for several hours it can be fatal. I knew the doctors at the San Joaquin County hospital did not know what they were doing when they did not even recognize what his pump was for or what the medicine that he was taking was. My dad was getting worse by the minute. He was not aware mentally of what was going on and could not hold a conversation. I am the only one in my family who knows how to work his pump besides my mother.

However my mother was to frantic to even open the bottle of medication. I had to tell the doctors that what they were doing was wrong. Of course the doctors did not want to let me do anything because I was only 17 years old and they did not want to take a chance of his condition worsening. As I look over to my mom and older sister who were standing in the corner crying in fear as they heard my dad mumbling, “I’m dying…I’m dying…God just take me. ” I began to become frustrated with the doctors. “I do not care what you say I am going to fix my dad’s medication.

You obviously don’t know what is going on and I’m not going to let my dad die just because you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing! ” I declared through my tears. So I made it clear that I was going to do it with or without their permission because if I did not my dad would die by the time they transported him to San Francisco, where his physicians are located. I had not done my dads medicine in months since he usually does it by himself so I was not completely sure of what to do. Making matters worse my dad was not conscious enough to walk me through it all.

But I knew if I did not try I would not have a dad. I wouldn’t be able to live myself and look my sisters in the eyes knowing I could have changed the outcome. The night before my high school graduation I was delivering my ceremony tickets to my Tia. We were passing Mattie Harrell park and as we took a left onto 8th Street a black SUV came along the side of our cadillac and before I knew it, a male was leaning outside of the passenger window with a handgun and all I hear is my mother screaming as she slammed on the breaks. “Call 911 Call 911! I got shot! Bianca call the police! This whole experience felt unreal. Yes people get shot but it doesn’t happen to your family, especially your mom. And when it did happen, as I was going through the motions of calling the police and checking on my mom it still didn’t seem real. “Hispanic. Short black hair. Black 4-door Suburban. Black hand gun. White tee. ” I hear my mom repeating as I am giving our location to the operator. When the paramedics arrived and took my mom to the hospital, I had to stay behind to answer all the questions. And after I was done I had to go home to my sisters and explain why my mom wasn’t with me.

I told myself I would stay strong for them, but the moment I looked into their eyes, I fell to pieces. I felt as if I couldn’t breath, like I was choking on my tears. Even though I was terrified about what was going on with my mom I had to be sure not to startle my sisters. I had to collect myself so I wouldn’t worry my little sisters. My Tia wanted to tell them everything but my three younger sisters aren’t even teenagers yet. “Mommy got sick and had to go to the doctors so they can make sure she is okay. So we are going to go to Tia’s house, while I go check on mom. I had to be the one to reassure them everything was going to be okay even though I wasn’t entirely sure of it myself. I had to be the one to remember all the details of the shooter, the vehicle, and how I noticed the car was behind for quite some time, so I could to follow up with the police. Meanwhile, taking care of my sisters and going to the hospital to talk to the doctors there to see if they wanted to remove the bullet or leave it in her body cavity. Going through these two events has helped me become more courageous. It helped me realized nothing is certain.

I could have lost both my parents within a year and knowing that has changed me as a person. Now I am more willing to take a stand and do what I need to to help others and be more bold in my actions. My courage comes from different sources. Mainly my religion. I am a catholic so my faith in God and his promises gives me strength and courage. My other sources for my strength are my sisters. I have five sisters and it is my responsibility to be courageous for them in order to keep them safe and teach them how to be strong and courages themselves.

There is a bible verse I think of when I am in need of courage: “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will never fail you nor abandon you” ( Deuteronomy 31:6). Reading this scripture reminds me that I will never be alone and God will not give me an obstacle I cannot overcome. “You have to be strong for your sisters” is something I was always told growing up. Being the second oldest out of six daughters I had a lot of responsibility. One of those responsibilities was being strong for my sisters.

As we faced difficulties and tragedies I had to be the one my sisters could lean on. I believe that is why most of my courage comes from God. Given that I do not have the closest bond with my parents, I only had trust in God as problems arise. As an older sister it is my duty to be able to compose myself and reassure my sisters that everything will be okay and nothing bad will happen to them. And at times I just wanted to vent all my feelings and emotions out but I had to be the one to deal with all the difficulties when no one else ould.

I have to be the refuge for my sisters. “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). This verse inspires me to leap into acts of courage. Even if I have doubts about the action God will be by my side providing me with strength and will not leave me alone. I can only succeed when acting in courage. If I do nothing, nothing will change. If I take action, only positive things can result from it.

Although a big piece of my courage comes from my faith, I do believe it is possible to have courage without faith. People who are not religious in any way can still have courage. And just because you have faith does not automatically mean you are courageous. People can get courage from their families or friends. Courage can also come from necessity when there is no other option than to be courageous. If there was an accident and people were trapped inside a car that might motivate people to go help and get people to safety. Your occupation can also be a source of courage.

The most famous example would be police officers and firefighters who have to risk their lives everyday to aid others. Courage without a doubt is beneficial to society. Courage is a foundation for leadership. Without it nobody would stand up and take initiative. It takes courage to guide people and make tough decisions for people other than yourself. Courage also helps people to be able to share their opinions even when those opinions or ideas go against the majority’s thoughts. For example, standing up to a bully and defending a victim takes courage and definitely helps push society toward a greater good.

Having trust in others is also a way that shows courage. For some people who always feel the need to be in control, it takes courage to be able to let go of the reins and allow someone else to be in charge. Courage is not a characteristic that only comes out in times of severe adversities. Courage comes in many different assortments of actions and situations and its results are astounding. As Benjamin Mee from We Bought a Zoo put it, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something good will come out of it. ”

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