Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.“
“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity” – Mark Twain
A critical playground observation was made by renowned family psychologist, Dr. James Dobson. He observed that children from Christian homes tend to swear less. Additionally, Christian children are far more inhibited than their secular peers, and in the wrong way. They’re less likely to establish healthy boundaries with other kids. They’re less likely to stand up for what’s right, to defend themselves or others. Children grow up to be adults and unless this issue is corrected, it becomes the case where absence of courage transforms into an adult dysfunction. The absence of this virtue will impact the depth to which every social, spiritual and intimate relationship flows.
Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation, whether for ourselves or for others. Courage is pivotal, because in order to truly possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain such virtue in the face of difficulty. Truth be told, in our churches, homes and other social spaces, we have a pandemic of spinelessness and most of us have already tested positive for the cowardice-virus.
Courage is the foundational virtue upon which others rest. To study the fate of the future in an accurate and meaningful way, one has to evaluate the past. There is an analytical and systematic correlation one will always discover, when any matter is analysed by observing the “what,” “when,” “where,” “how,” and finally the “why” of a thing. This is the principle of the Aristotelian metric of logical analysis. Let us try and use this method to briefly look at the “what” of courage.
One may be inclined to assume (as I had in the past) that Christian boys are placed at a disadvantage by being taught to be humble, loving and patient. These are critical virtues possessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, which our boys are to be trained and exhorted to exemplify. However, these virtues are not the only virtue Jesus demonstrated. At the Passover in Bethany (John 12), Mary broke a very serious custom when she anointed the feet of Jesus. Amidst the outrage, Jesus said “Let her alone!” in a defiant stance of support for the action of Mary. This was done before elders and other religious elites!
In the days of his flesh, Jesus was described as Meek. Meekness means “yielding and being submissive.” What was Jesus meek toward? He was surely not submissive to the will of man, which is tainted with self-interest and is sometimes wicked. Jesus was submissive to His Father’s will. This is “what” we should be teaching our children. Being submissive to our Father’s will sometimes bring us into conflict with this world. Meekness isn’t false humility or timidity or fear of conflict. Meekness is knowing who we are, believing that what God says is true and then submitting to Him, because we love Him in response to His love for us. Courage is not inhibited by the consequence associated with following the will of our father. This is a lesson all boys should learn so that “when” the time comes, they can exercise the virtue of Courage.
We will continue to explore the “Description of Masculinity” in subsequent publications.