Transcript: In Courage

Welcome to the US and Kids Podcast. I am your host Jan Talen. I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, but I'm also a wife, a mom, and a grandma. And, with my own marriage and with my clients, I have worked to help us avoid the pain of divorce and achieve that grand balance of being married forever, while parenting together. I know, you know, we know, this is not an easy task or easy work, but it is very rewarding. And, that's why I do this podcast is to help build marriages forever, while you parent together. 

And today, we're going to talk about being in a space of courage. You know that courage is for when there's something really scary and sometimes you'll think "Courage... that's not a problem, I just go and do what I need to do."  But do you know why? 

And there are people who get stumped and just can't seem to move forward, or go so slow, like what's taking you (sooo long)??. And it's not just from being tired. Sometimes it can be some anxiety, but often anxiety comes from a place of not having enough courage. 

I've often looked at the spelling of the word courage and thought that it has looked funny to me. For one, it has four vowels in A and E, it skips the I, and then it goes to O and U. That's a lot of vowels to figure out where to put them!

And courage has the word rage in it. And I've often thought, courage isn't rage; rage is angry and furious. Well, maybe if there's righteous rage, there's a lot of courage in that emotion. But I've thought about this more, and wondered, what does it take to have courage? 

I've been watching little kiddos lately. I have a family near me, one of my kids is moving their kids and their family to a different location.  I've been watching the kids try to have courage in this transition, and they've done a fabulous job. I've been watching the parents try to have courage in it. With any move, there are bumps and bumbles and funny things that happen along the way that no one thought of.  

So, how do you stay in this place transition while also moving forward? And that's what  courage is often about. So I thought, well I'm gonna just explore the role of courage a little bit more. This is for any age, in any stage of life, from getting your eight year old parent to have the courage to move into assisted living, to having your own courage to start a new job or learning new skill, to watching your kids have the courage to start a new school, or do a new sport, join a new team. 

Maybe it's even about learning something new in the kitchen by watching your little one have the courage to open their mouth while you try to brush their teeth or having the courage to go to sleep without you sitting in the bedroom by them. 

When we have courage - and you'll be able to see people who have courage -  they often have increased their intrinsic motivation. This is a long word with a short definition. Intrinsic motivation is internal motivation. This is motivation to accomplish a task without having to be bribed or begged, or pleaded or threatened.  We have the courage to say in our brain and in our body, "I can do this."  That's intrinsic motivation and encouragement or having courage. We can tell when someone has the intrinsic motivation and courage because they often say, "Yes. I can do that." 

And courage also has perseverance in it.   We can tell when someone has courage when there's perseverance.  This means they keep on going forward, even when there are struggles. They work a "work around", and they do it again. 

The third way that we know if someone has courage is if we can see that they're enjoying what they're doing, even if they're struggling with it. So when a kiddo says In the end,"That was fun!" We know that they had courage. 

So those are some ways that we can see whether or not there's courage. If someone is able to persevere, get started and do it on their own without having to be bribed or pushed or watched, and if they find some enjoyment in it then we know they are using some of the elements in courage. 

But we still haven't answered that question. How do we get courage? What are the characteristics of courage that we need? And I'm going to list a few of them here. We're going to talk about them, remembering that when we use the DNA for Fun Communication method we're looking for defining and knowing your dreams and desires both in the small space of whatever task you're trying to accomplish, or in the longer space of parenting. What do you want your child to be like as an adult? Next, we're looking at the necessary skills.  What skills do we need to get those hopes and dreams and desires to come true. And how do we apply them to ourselves for and with our spouses and our partners and our kiddos. Often  when we teach these skills, we talk about this need for courage, and about needing to encourage. Next week we're going to talk about the act of encouraging. For now I wanted to just give this nugget of truth that runs through any skill that you use: listening, controlling your own emotional self, hearing people accurately, saying what you need clearly, using confidence and protection and equipping in a way that really builds people up - that encourages them. And then being okay with giving some grace when people flub up.Those are some necessary skills. 

So let's move on into the  core pieces of courage. What's the recipe that makes courage within people so that they can move forward easily? One of them is self confidence. Now you and I both know the saying, "Well that doesn't grow on trees!" Self confident people often know who they are and what they stand for. So this is internal, personal work. Take a little inventory of yourself and say, "What do I value, what would I spend money on that I would be pleased about my purchase. What would I not spend money on and be pleased about not purchasing."  Self confidence is knowing who we are, but this can be a moving target. It's also important to understand ourselves. And as we do this, we will begin to understand also that we have purpose. A few weeks ago we talked about this concept of our personal value and purpose.   

Continue to think through your confidence. You do not have to be 100% self confident, not in all areas of life. I don't think it's possible. Give yourself some grace and some room for a sliding scale and give your kids some room for grace.  Self confidence comes as we practice something, and grow proficient in it. So where our courage is low often our self confidence is low. 

Next week we'll talk about, encourage, and as we do that, you will see how we can help build up our own self confidence and other's. Remember that a part of courage is being confident. I don't care if you fake it till you make it sometimes. It's all right. And that practice with some success, even though you had a lower level of confidence will boost your confidence!

Another thing that courage has in it is conviction. That this doesn't mean being crass or harsh. It means being sure. It's part of that self confidence. When we have conviction, we don't blindly follow the crowd, or change our opinion depending on what our best friend just said. Conviction means because I know who I am. I stay with who I am. Kiddos are changing and learning, and so are we.  I'm hoping that as we continue to grow up and mature (and we do that our whole lives), that we've come more convicted -more true to what we know is right and good. Conviction is a part of having courage. 

But then so is integrity. Integrity knows the difference between right and wrong and doesn't budge. Their white lies, half truths are seldom used, and when they are, it's so obvious people know it's a joke. They live, honor, (that means respect), in how they treat anyone. This is integrity. Integrity is trustworthy. 

So far in courage - to have or be in the space of courage -, we have self confidence, conviction, and integrity. We also have compassion. This is one of my favorite parts about courage. People that are courageous, whom I admire, are compassionate. They put other people's needs before their own, without worrying about what they're going to lose - because they have plenty. They have plenty of their own self. They have plenty, in my world, of what Jesus has given them. And so they can  be compassionate towards anyone: good or bad, no matter how naughty they have been.  This is a part of courage. He knows that you will be okay, even if you give a lot of yourself away to someone else. 

Remember the family that is packing up to move....I've watched the mom and dad as the kiddos are trying to figure this out. Mom and Dad were really compassionate with their kiddos.  They sat down with them and played with them or just chatted.  They gave them permission to feel all the weird different things. There was talk about the house looking like a tornado and looking like a hurricane. They (the kiddos) would be helpful one minute by packing up and the next minute, they'd be running around in circles, screaming or jumping. They couldn't stay focused. They were trying to stay in a space of courage, and they could do it for short spurts. 

Our compassion as the adults was to give them room to do whatever they need to do. And when the kids would say, "What could I do to help?" We would quickly give them something to do. And when they said,  "That's all I can do." We would say, "Then go and run." This is compassion. It's a part of courage that says, "I will be okay. Even if you're not. When you need my support, I'll give it to you. I have enough strength to do both.

Moving on: Courage has strength in it. They stay with things. One of the ways you can tell when someone's in a space of courage is where they are able to persevere, There is  strength in adversity that enables you to keep your eye on your end desire. Courage helps to build a plan that says, "This is how I'm going to get here. You're right, I'm on Plan D, I'm on Plan F and G. But my goodness, we're going to do it!"  They are aware that when I say "No" to one thing... "No, I'm not going to stay here."  that I'm also saying yes to another opportunity. That's a part of courage, is being able to make those transitions. 

It takes practice to be able to be strong in adversity. It takes practice of using courage to grow in courage. Keep on doing it. It's well worth it! You are going to need courage your whole life. I was helping my dad long ago transition into an assisted living home place. My dad was a world traveler. My mother had passed away several years before. And as he climbed into bed, (he could not do this himself) I heard him mutter under his breath, "I have slept in hotel rooms around the world. I can sleep here too." I was the only one, honored enough to hear those words. And he crawled in the bed, and he slept. He had strength and courage in the space of a very challenging transition. 

Courage  helps us adjust in those changes because we're able to persevere, because we're able to look around and say these are my best choices and pick one. You can hear the self control that comes when people have courage. We can also hear the conviction - this is the right thing to do, this is what I'm going to do next. And even if they're not fully sure of their conviction they might have the attitude that says, ?Well, we're going to try it! If we don't like it, we can change it." That's the courage and the strength that comes here, as we practice, all of these different ingredients that go with in courage. 

I just used strength in courage while I was helping those kiddos pack their things for moving and while I  helped their parents in making this move.  I knew they had to stay courageous as they embraced the unknowns of moving.  In my world, because of my Christian faith, I simply talk about the truth that God is with you. He doesn't leave you, he doesn't forget you. He didn't just stay in the house you were in; He is going with you to your new house. This is embracing the unknown, even when they're not fully confident with courage, says that I will figure it out, and I will know how to be safe, even when it's scary. 

And that leads into the other element of courage, which is that courageous people take action. They don't always wait for somebody else to step up and do something. They do it themselves. 

I knew a little guy who was just overwhelmed. couldn't do courage any, any, any more. And he got by me and I was with other kiddos. And he started to run. He's a very active boy. And all of a sudden that kiddo ran for 20 minutes. He had a little watch on like a tracker, so we knew he ran for 20 minutes! He knew that to get more courage so he had to do something. And part of that was to get rid of all of this pent up energy. He just ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran, and when he was done he said, "Oh, I feel so much better!!"  To get courage we may have to dump some anxiety that's building up, and I'll tell you, moving, running fast, sweating, getting your heart rate up, will certainly help that courage. 

Growing courage is not as easy to do as eating an apple. Courage is something that we practice every day, so that when we are in a place of high tension we already have it. We don't wish we had it. Courage keeps us from shame and embarrassment because courage, (you can hear these components) has wisdom in it. It gives us the strength to stop and the courage to stop something that's not reasonable, or safe. And it gives us the courage to move forward, even when it seems scary. 

You probably know somebody who needs some courage You're probably listening to this list and realizing, "Oh, I don't have that, ...oh I could use some more of that."  So what I'm going to invite you to do today is to look at the little list that we have. It will be on the printable.   Courage has self confidence, conviction, integrity, compassion, strength, embracing the unknown, being able to take action, which builds strength. All of those things together, build up our internal motivation (intrinsic motivation), our ability to persevere, and our ability to enjoy whatever we're doing, even though it's so doggone challenging. 

Growing courage isS different for everybody. So, as you watch your kiddos and as you look at you and your spouse, continue to build up those elements that make up courage - so that there's not just rage and fast movement, but there's strength. There's delight. 

Next week we're going to talk about the role of encouraging. This was in-courage, and next week we're going to talk about how to encourage somebody who's just bumbling along, and they don't seem to have hardly any of these courageous qualities.  It might be one of your kiddos but it might be your spouse. It might be a good friend. It might be somebody who's just been bumped up over the year. How do we encourage and how does that change how we interact?

You know I'm always pleased when you join me here and I'm thankful for your taking the time to listen. I am hoping that you take this and use it to get your own self strong because we don't know what's coming down the road ever in life. 

But also, so that you can encourage someone else. 

More on that next week. 

Enjoy your family, enjoy your marriage, and I'll talk to you again. Bye bye.


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