What does bravery look like?

The image of Miss 6 sliding down the fireman’s pole represents a rite of passage, having the bravery to step off the edge and trust both yourself and the pole that you will greet the ground safely. Alongside getting across the monkey bars without stopping the plunge down the fireman’s pole has been a big milestone of both physical prowess and bravery. We talk about bravery with our children when it comes to conquering physical challenges, the bravery used to tackle a high ropes course, the bravery used to enter a dark tunnel – the no guts, no glory mentality. Here’s my question how to we encourage bravery as an intrinsic strength and what does it look like in daily life?

Bravery can take on 6 key forms

  • Physical - the bravery that first springs to mind – attempting physical challenges, resilience

  • Social – having the bravery to enter new social situations, the bravery we access when we are meeting new people, engaging in leadership opportunities

  • Moral – bravely standing up for the right thing, living by our morals and ethical values

  • Emotional – embracing our emotions being brave enough to show and own up to our own emotions

  • Intellectual – taking risks with our thinking, pitching new ideas, question thinking and being willing to make mistakes in our learning

  • Spiritual – asking questions, reflecting on our purpose and the meaning in our life

Being brave requires us to make a decision and act on it. Embodying self-confidence, determining our purpose to be worthwhile and then managing our fear.

How can we support our children to be brave and take risks?

Bravery is like a muscle we need to develop it, flex it and occasionally challenge its limits. We can support the development of this muscle by:

  • Providing a language of bravery

Having the words to talk about our feelings, how we think and learn, our spiritual questions, our values provides a springboard for the development of bravery. Language provides the key to expressing how we are feeling and acting. Having the opportunity to use and hear the language of bravery is critical in its development.

  • Supporting their identity and independence

Children that are confident within themselves are more likely to engage in situations that require bravery. Support our kids to have a strong self-identity. An identify that is characterized by an understanding of their own learning styles, morals and values, even a sense of style. Children who are confident in their own skin will engage with challenge, stand-up for what they believe in, apologise for their mistakes.