‘Brave kids’ is definitely up there on my mental list of ‘how to be a good parent’ but how do we achieve this? Your guess is as good as mine!
What does being brave really mean?
Bravery is the choice and willingness to confront pain or danger (physical courage) and uncertainty or intimidation (moral courage).
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in a world where moral courage is so rare.” Mark Twain
So how does one possess moral courage? It is a combination of characteristics: self-esteem and confidence; resilience; emotional intelligence; and a sense of trust in others, themselves and the universe.
How do I help my child become ‘brave’?
As a parent, it is easy to become focussed on this notion of ‘bravery’ and under the well-meaning guise of ‘tough love’ push your child to do things that they are afraid of; to help them “be brave”. But according to psychologists this approach is actually counterproductive.
Children have two basic needs: the need for comfort and the need for exploration. The way children navigate the world involves a complex balance of these needs.(www.psychcentral.com/lib/book-review-raising-a-secure-child/)
Hoffman, Cooper and Powell (authors of Raising a Secure Child) explain that being a present, mindful parent and tuning into your child’s needs helps to develop a secure attachment which in turn is the best way to help them ‘be brave’.
While Superheroes (real and pretend) spend their nights ‘saving the day’ with extreme challenges and life or death pursuits, us mere mortals are often not put to the ‘test of courage’.
However, bravery exists in many forms and every person, every day has the capacity to make the ‘brave choice’.
Here are a few ‘everyday braves’ for the heroes without capes:
Regulating emotions with disappointments (“being a good sport!”)
Relishing the freedom to explore new environments (“being a go-getter!”)
Showing self-confidence in social interactions (“being a people person”)
Demonstrating resilience with difficult tasks (“never giving up!”)
Possessing self-esteem for difficult decisions (“backing yourself!”)
What is the single most important virtue to teach your child?
I find myself pondering this question often and generally coming back to the same few ideas – empathy, compassion and kindness.
While all of these characteristics are so important, it is bravery that is the most important virtue of all.
“The secret to happiness is freedom and the secret to freedom is courage.” Thucydides
Bravery affords people the freedom to enjoy life: to savour every moment; grasp every opportunity; and be themselves. If we are afraid to try new things, embark on new adventures, meet new people, to speak our mind… then we are no longer living but merely existing.
Needless to say, ‘Be Brave’ is a pretty amazing message to be sharing with our children. Our ‘Be Brave’ book box has carefully chosen and specifically planned activities that opens up opportunities for you and your child to explore courage and bravery together. Check it out www.littlebirdiebooks.com.au/shop.
‘Be Brave’…so simple yet so difficult…
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies xx