Week 8 - BraveryBy Jeff Bryan
I pursued what my doctors and I fought off for nearly 10 years—an amputation.
(Photo Credit: Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
For an in-depth overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
To see the 1-page Bravery Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.
Starting Monday, Partner Schools nationwide will begin learning about bravery. Bravery refers to voluntary (not coerced) action in the face of a dangerous circumstance. This strength involves judgment; the brave person must have an understanding of the risks and consequences involved in acting. According to Socrates and Plato, forethought separates acts of valor from acts of rashness. This means that bravery isn’t simply fearlessness, but instead the overcoming of fear.
Bravery can take many forms. Physical bravery involves overcoming the fear of bodily injury or death. Moral bravery occurs when an individual does what he/she believes is right in the face of social and/or financial consequences. Mental bravery occurs when people overcome their everyday fears and anxieties.
This week’s character strength example is Will Reynolds, a founding Board Member of The Positivity Project. Will was wounded by an IED in Iraq in 2004 while leading his platoon in Southwest Baghdad. After more than a dozen surgeries that spanned nearly a decade, Will made the decision to amputate his left leg at the knee in 2013.
In his typically understated fashion, Will doesn’t make a big deal of this decision. But, it’s a decision that clearly takes bravery — alongside many other character strengths. As you’ll see in the below video, Will and his family beautifully exemplify the P2’s focus on character and relationships.
So, why is this strength important? Overcoming fears is critically important in individual development, as it allows the person to do more and become more. A person can be brave every single day. For example, some people with social anxiety are brave just by leaving their house and talking with people. On a physical level, bravery allows us to overcome fears, such as swimming or playing a sport. And, on a moral level, doing what we know to be right, despite the risks, gives us the sense that we are acting on behalf of a larger purpose.
On a group level, bravery is inspiring and contagious. Witnessing an individual’s brave act – whether a soldier in battle or standing up for a bullied student – is a form of leadership and often encourages others to take action. Communities and societies throughout time have held bravery in high esteem because they know its inherent importance. This is why Aristotle believed, “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.”
And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page here. This page is the place that we recommend you go to access all of the resources — not via Google Drive folders.
To find your grade level’s presentation, you can simply type the word “bravery” into the Resource Title search bar or sort by Character Strength and select Teamwork. Each of those options will provide you with 10 slide presentations and one 1-page character card. For a simple overview of the Resources page, with pictures and videos, click here.