I try to instill courage in my children, even as young as they are. I want them to have confidence in themselves to handle situations with reason and wisdom. I want them to speak up for what is right and make a stand for God. I want them to be confident in speaking to others and not be paralyzed with fear. All of this I want for them because I didn’t have it.
At a grade school piano recital, my leg shook during the entire time I played my two pieces. In an English high school class, my voice shook throughout my report on who-knows-what. Even in college, I opted out of Public Speaking with a Phonetics class. I also turned down an opportunity to present my psychology research paper at a conference at my professor’s request.
I encourage my children to speak to adults at church when they are spoken to and not to rely on me to answer for them. My daughter left her swim shirt at a class she took at the nature preserve, and after I called about it, I made her go into the center to pick it up. Today, one of my children knocked a rack of hanging beach towels down at Target. I stood there waiting for about ten minutes while this child fixed the rack and rehung the towels. I was not going to “cover” for this child by fixing it myself. Though that would have been much quicker and easier, a lesson in responsibility would have been lost. Actions have consequences!
As part of our Classical Conversations classes, Lindsay, Logan, and Luke have to give a presentation on a topic of their choosing in front of their peers. They were not really comfortable with this at first, but have really begun to enjoy it. My daughter just participated in a church musical where she had a small speaking part and a solo (she sang like an angel!)! My children also are feeling more confident about placing their orders with waiters at restaurants. Small steps toward big courage!
So as part of every day living, encourage courage in your children. Give them opportunities to speak for themselves or correct their own mistakes and don’t be too quick to do it for them!