“Courage is grace under pressure.” Ernest Hemingway
SEL Connection: Courage is one of those qualities of people that is really hard to define but easy to identify. Students admire courage, whether it be the student who gets up in front of class to give a speech, or the one who sings the national anthem at the assembly, or the quarterback who saves the team with a last second touchdown pass. And then there is the different kind of courage when it comes to dealing with personal problems or getting over a break-up. Regardless of the type, all students– like adults– want to be courageous but often struggle getting there.
(1) Claim: By using the word ‘grace’, Hemingway is seizing on an interesting way of looking at courage. We don’t think of grace along with courage usually but it makes sense. To be graceful is move peacefully throughout life. When we are able to do that under stressful situations, then that indicates a certain bravery which is to be admired. It’s the firemen or police officer who acts calmly in high-pressure situations, or the parent who thinks rationally in chaotic family settings.
(2) Counterclaim: But maybe what we view as ‘grace’ really is disguised fear. Certain people are able to conceal their fears to a point where they seem to act in calm, measured ways. Viewed in this way, then, everybody experiences fear; it is just that certain people hide it better.
(3) Essential Question: Are courageous people really just good at hiding their fears?