Teaching the Value of Courage
Having courage means that children will be brave as they meet new experiences, difficult situations, and/or dangerous encounters. Also courage may involve being firm because of strong moral convictions. In either case, there may be feelings of fear, anxiety, or apprehension.
Please use the following age level specific guidelines to help you teach this particular value.
3 – 4 YEAR-OLDS:
Three to four year-olds still are often controlled by their self-centered, egotistical impulses. Because of their developmental level, these children perceive other people and things to have meaning only in relation to themselves. Their ability to be courageous may be influenced by their perceptions, needs, and desires of the moment. The personality of a child will also have an influence. Some are bold, others are cautious. As they experience danger and fear, they are also learning about trust. Because of their anxiety about the situation, youngsters this age may be unable to confront and overcome their concerns. Children of these ages have short attention spans. This may contribute to their inability to follow through the situation to its conclusion.
5 – 6 YEAR-OLDS:
Five to six year-olds are likely to follow directions in order to receive rewards, avoid punishment, or satisfy an authority figure. These children are emotionally attached to parents and teachers. They crave approval. Therefore, they are usually willing to do what adults ask them to do and to believe anything that adults say…unless the adults have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. Youngsters these ages are still learning by what they observe their parents do. Parents must maintain good examples of courageous behavior. For example, if you find money, do you keep it or do you seek its owner? Assist children to verbalize their feelings as they examine situations, consider possible alternative responses, discuss the consequences of each response, select one line of action, and evaluate the results.
Seven to nine year-olds are becoming more sociable and enjoy playing with other children. Rules are more meaningful. Youngsters are developing judgment and have a strong sense of property rights, at least regarding their own property. Parents can continue to model courage by examples in their own lives. Share your thought processes aloud with your children. Help youngsters discuss their viewpoint, i.e., why they made the decisions they made and why they behaved as they did. Perhaps their decisions and behaviors are appropriate for the situation. Or if their decisions are inadvisable, help children think about the responses as well as examine more appropriate alternatives.
Does this mean that if your child is cautious they will never be courageous? No, not at all. Our son was very cautious in the preschool years. In Junior High we pushed him into doing drama at the small school he attended. He developed as an actor and played musical leads all through high school and his courage grew. He is now teaching high school English in an inner city high school and is President of the teacher’s union.
Activities to Do to Learn About Courage
- Look through your newspaper with your children to find articles about acts of courage. Consider these questions: Who performed the acts of courage? What did they do? When and where was the act of courage accomplished? How did they carry it out? How will this act of courage affect other people?
- Provide crayons or pencils for your children to draw pictures of people they would consider courageous heroes. Ask youngsters to tell you about why they think the person is a hero. If possible, have your children dictate these reasons as you write them on their picture.
- Tell your children stories about times when your faith influenced your actions. Alternatively, tell about a time when you could have helped someone or taken a courageous action and regret that you failed to do so. Describe the lessons that you think God may have been teaching you?
- Having a family meeting where you talk about the importance of courage. Ask each family member to share about one of the most courageous things they ever did or describe one of the most courageous people they have ever met.
Quigley’s Village Recommended Video on Courage: “The Wonder Kids’ Colossal Cash Caper”
The video that ties into this value is “The Wonder Kids’ Colossal Cash Caper.” In this program, Danny, Bubba, and Spike imagine themselves as the Wonder Kids looking for adventure. On “assignment” from Mr. Quigley, they find a money purse in the park and are faced with the dilemma of keeping it or giving it back.
During the video, you may want to occasionally stop it and ask your children, “What do you think you would do (or feel or say) in this story?” Then, watch how the program ends.
After the video, ask your children to share what they thought about the story. Which character was their favorite? Which character was most like them? In what ways?
An Additional Activity to do after the video could be:
- Learn and sing together one of the songs from “The Wonder Kids’ Colossal Cash Caper.”