Courage and Its Many Forms Essay

My definition of courage is to be able to endure physical hardship to prevent harm from coming to another and to have the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition. As you can see in my definition there are two themes. One is physical courage and the other is moral courage. I picked this concept because of the many opportunities courage has to offer. Courage is very specific; in some cases it could be instinct, or stupidity that is seen as courage.

I want to be able to talk about how each of them is different and how to decide true courage. There are so many stories of courage throughout history. There are countless military examples starting all the way to biblical times. One of the most famous acts of courage is the story of David and Goliath. In this story a boy named David kills a giant with a simple slingshot when every man in the army was too afraid to face him (Nelson, 1982, 2 Samuel 17). Many different people can see the word courage differently. Others could also see what some may see as a courageous act as stupidity or instinct.

Sometimes doing nothing or fleeing from a no win situation can be looked at as cowardly. I chose the incept of courage because it is thought provoking. For example, Bob is sitting all alone on a bench going over some construction plans because he is an engineer. He sees smoke 2 coming from a nearby house, being the only one around he quickly calls 911. The smoke quickly turns to fire and the house is now engulfed in flames. He hears a scream coming from upstairs and thinks of rushing in immediately. He takes a step back and, being an engineer, asses the situation.

He realizes the old house will collapse in one minute, not enough time to save the women upstairs. Not hearing any sirens close he rushes into the house to save her. Seconds later the house collapses and everyone dies. How should this example be looked at? It could be instinct to save someone’s life, it could also be stupidity knowing that the house was going to collapse and going in anyway in a sense he died for nothing. It could also be looked at as courage because he thought he could defy the odds and save someone’s life.

Cassia Barnacle showed one example of true courage in the Columbine high school shooting. One day a teenaged boy came into his high school ready to kill. During the shooting he walked up to Cassia and asked her if she believed in God. She answered, miss” and was shot in the head (Cassia Barnacle said “yes”). I think true courage was shown here, her willingness to admit her belief in God even though it was likely to cost her own life. Some may see it as stupidity; simply denying God and living would be an easy thing for most people and afterwards Just say I did not mean it.

Cassia was such a strong mature believer that she knew it was wrong to deny her God and embraced her fate. After the shooting she became a martyr for some Christians and a book was written about her. I believe that true courage, when seen, is always recognized by most people. In war if you commit a courageous act you are rewarded with a medal, Just as Cassia was honored with a book. A thought provoking example is this: A royal marine named Matthew Crouched was on a mission in Afghanistan and a grenade rolled onto the ground by him and his three fellow marines.

He had seven seconds to decide to risk his own life to save his friends or hesitate. With out hesitation he chose to save his comrades. He was awarded the George Cross, the highest decoration for bravery when not in the face of the enemy (Harding, 2008). Is this instinct or courage? If it is courage then can courage be a personality trait? In the seconds of time that passed between when it landed and blew up, Mathew risked his life with out hesitation, he could not have thought about it for very long. So instinctively he Jumped on the grenade but it took courage to risk his own life for his brothers.

Cassia and Bob knew the odds were not in their favor yet still chose the painful path. I told my roommate the story of Bob and he said it was all three. It was instinct to save a persons life and courage to enter a burning building but stupid to enter knowing the structure was unsteady. I believe it was stupid of Bob to rush in a building he knew would collapse on him. No matter what two lives are better than one. Although I say that I have never been in that situation nor am I smart enough to know when a building is coming down.

It would be incredibly hard to let a helpless person die. I think that my concept is important because courage is one of the actions that created the world we know. If it were not for all the biblical characters and their courage, if not for the centuries of our nations troops courage, the world would be forever different. Courage is what formed the world, as we know it. Millions of lives have been saved through the courageous acts of men and women. Not Just the men ND women in the army but also the people who stood up for what is right. Many people see the word courage differently. Courage is so important to the world. People see true courage and are inspired by what they see. Although some courageous attempts may turn to foolishness or stupidity everyone respects the action. I think courage is the ability to be able to endure physical hardship to prevent harm from coming to another and to have the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition. Some people never know how they will act in certain situations, someday maybe they will find out if they possess courage or the instinct to vive or be safe.