I have a favorite book that I read to students at the start of every school year.
Yes, even my middle schoolers. All kids love to be read to!
The book is called Courage, by Bernard Waber.
I remember buying this book at my local bookstore a few years ago. Although we’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, I totally did in this case. When I bought this book, it was during the summer of 2010. I was training for my first sprint triathlon and was struggling with my fear of deep open water swims. The book cover shows a boy standing on a diving board that is lingering very high above what looks like a very large body of water. The boy has a look on his face that is all too familiar. It’s the same look I have when faced with something scary- like open water swims.
I honestly don’t think I ever opened the book. I just bought it on the spot. I know that even if its content wasn’t something that appealed to me, the artwork alone was enough to pull me in. Since then I’ve come to realize that the book is so much more than an inspirational cover. Waber’s words are beautifully written. His interpretation of courage and it’s meaning is heartwarming and relative.
From the book:
There are many kinds of courage.
And everyday kinds.
Still courage is courage—-whatever kind.
Courage is a spelling bee and your word is superciliousness.
Courage is it’s your job to check out the night noises in the house.
Courage is being the first to make up after an argument.
Courage is tasting the vegetable before making the face.
Courage is starting over.
Courage is sometimes having to say goodbye.
So what does courage mean to you?
To me, courage can be something as simple doing what’s right when no one is looking. Courage is being there for someone when it might be scary or hard. Courage is being able to make friends by saying, flat out, “Hi, my name is Steph. What’s yours?” Courage is taking chances, even when you think you may fail. Courage is swimming at the deep end. Courage is speaking up. Courage is making tough decisions. Courage is starting something, even if the journey may be long. Courage is being yourself.
Be courageous today.