This I Believe

David - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on November 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, morality

What’s the last courageous thing you did?

A few days ago I came across the following quote while surfing the internet;

“It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.”

-Mark Twain

and it made me think to myself about courage. I realized that I really do believe this quote. We’re all courageous at one point for something “big” but it’s those “small” things that we’re cowards to. Many of us don’t consider veering away from these so called “small” things as cowardice, but that’s only because we wish to save face.

Now, when I say “small” things I mean daily things. You know, when you see someone in the hall being picked on, most of us would walk away since these things are “normal” to us. In truth, you’re just a coward that’s using conformity to conceal your cowardice.

I don’t blame you for brushing situations like this off, in fact I’m guilty of it myself. I partially think that society and culture are to blame. I believe this because popular media more often than not portrays “courage” as the good guy beating the bad guy, or something “big” and by “big” I mean, stopping a bank robber, kind of big.

Although this is true, it also is faulty. This ideal that “it doesn’t count unless it’s big” has overshadowed the simple definition of courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. No where does it say that you have to save someone’s life, or save the world, just standing up for yourself or someone else is sufficient.

So the next time you see something immoral, big or small, speak out, don’t just sit there. It’s the little things that lead to the big ones. Besides it’s the right thing to do. Be and individual, break the mold, swim against the current. Maybe it’ll be the step that leads you onto your path to something big, who knows. You’ll never know till you try! Now go, save the world, just do it one person at a time!