Troy had curly black hair, was a couple of years older, towered at least two feet over me, and muscles that would have caused the Terminator to think twice.
Well, maybe he was only a few inches taller and had the average 8th grade build. Perhaps, time has calibrated my memory. Troy terrorized my early days of Middle School through daily intimidation. I was not beaten up, but his presence caused me to change direction or backtrack for avoiding a confrontation.
Everything changed in a moment, with a flash of courage. I was wearing a stylish black fake motorcycle jacket with silver zippers on the chest. The kind of cool jacket that only the early 80's could produce. The day of reckoning occurred one afternoon outside the gym. Troy ran up to me and said he could spit in one of my open zipper pockets. With knees trembling, I stood my ground, replied "yes you could" and pushed my way past him.
I don't remember much of what I learned in school over those years, but I do know that Troy was never a problem again. This display of courage may have been one of my greatest lessons I remember; thanks, Troy.
In The Gifts Of Imperfection, writer and research professor, Brene Brown references an earlier version that is closer to the Latin root; "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." This definition supports the courage you and I can exhibit each day as challenges come our way. Most are not running from lions for survival or running into burning buildings to save lives.
Our courage challenge is to remain faithful to who we are as individuals. To stand up for who we are, the causes we believe, speaking for the voiceless and changing at least our corner of the world becomes our mission. Pushing back on the internal resistance that demands cowering to fears and temptations, is when courage is on full display.
Youthful moments of courage can prove to be defining moments and the seeds for today's courage. The courage of vulnerable living, creating your art and shipping it to the world, and choosing gratitude in the face of a trial are a few of the daily demonstrations. The world is awaiting your courage and will be less without it.
Going Further: What is your story of youthful courage? Did your circumstances dictate a consistent type of courage? How did this early exposure to courage influence your life today?