University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
All of us trust the dictionary to give us the full understanding of a word we do not know. In this aspect, it is insufficient when it describes courage. While it defines physical courage, it omits inner courage which can be argued to be much more valuable to posses. Webster’s New World Dictionary describes courage as “an attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of withdrawing from it”. Courage is not the ability to be brave or to laugh in the face of danger. Courage is not risking your life for justice.
Courage is not a person who agrees to fight, but he who can stand up against it. Courage is not something you can define entirely, and therefore can vary between each person. It can be said that a little girl who ventures out on her bike for the first time displays as much courage as a man jumping into a lake to save a drowning woman, knowing he cannot swim. Courage is a state of mind that enables a person to overcome fear, pain, danger or hardship. Although different from one another, all aspects of courage involve taking risks. Physical courage is facing your fears of possible bodily harm.
A fireman rushing into a burning building, a woman running across thin- ice to save a child that has just fallen through, an officer charging into a building to save a hostage. These are all examples of physical courage. Mental courage is standing up to your phobias. While some fear heights, I myself fear speaking in front of a large audience. A son who overcomes his fear of flying to be by his dying mothers side is mental courage that cannot be fully measured or explained. Mental courage is the ability to overcome tragedy and to move forward in the face of sheer defeat.
Mental courage is a man finding out he has a brain tumor, and still cherishing and living life to the fullest. Mental courage is taking care of your brother and sister following the death of their parents. The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, meaning heart. It derives from the belief that all feelings begin in the heart. The definitions given to all of us do not suffice because they lack depth and clarity. Mental courage, while not mentioned, and not defined, is portrayed in all of us on a daily basis; and should be along-side physical courage in the references we rely on.