The only thing worse than being afraid is for others to see you that way. Fear diminishes a person’s ability to lead others. It causes hesitantcy, doubt and an inability to make decisions when they matter most. Courage, on the other hand, inspires the opposite– faith, hope and an unbreakable will to overcome setbacks. But maybe revealing our fears and being vulnerable shows a different kind of strength which gives us self-confidence and influence over others.
Most agree that you can’t change much in the world if you don’t have the knowledge of what needs to be changed. With education comes understanding, perspective and a keen awareness of how to bring change into reality. Education is a powerful weapon indeed. But action in the form of protest and self-advocacy are also vital tools to effect change, and they don’t require an education as much as they require courage, spirit and drive. Knowledge and action must work together to make change happen.
Anger is one of those emotions that we say is inherently dangerous and unpredictable. If we are angry, we are told to wait it out a little and let the intense feelings pass. Yet, sometimes getting angry is actually a wise strategy, especially if we feel that our loved ones are in danger or we must defend ourselves. A quick, smart angry response is the better solution. Students must learn how and when to use anger to achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves and others.
Being a good person is hard enough. It’s even harder when we occupy positions of authority. That’s because authority gives us leeway to deal with others in whatever way we want, and carry through with punishments of our design. How we execute our power reveals our true values because we had the power to choose otherwise. Yet, adversity and hardship test our values too, and sometimes uncover more of who we really are.
Students make moral decisions everyday. Usually these decisions revolve around specific actions they take like helping a friend, cheating on a test or obeying curfew. But students also make moral decisions by being silent after witnessing the immoral behavior of others. In these situations, the impulse for self-protection overrides moral obligations. Learning how to choose whether or not to be silent in the midst of injustice is an important part of moral development.
Happiness is something that everyone wants. Sometimes, though, our imaginations create anxiety and actually prevent us from experiencing happiness. We make things worse than they actually are because of what we create in our minds. Yet, at other times, it is our actual experiences that create our suffering and our imaginations either magnify or diminish their importance. The power of the imagination is unique to each individual and can be a source of our happiness or despair.
Student success is mostly talked about in terms of achieving certain ends like getting a job, acing a test or winning a championship. Failure is seen as the opposite of success and something to avoid at all costs. But perhaps failure is the necessary fuel behind our success for without it, we could never achieve greatness in anything. The relationship between success and failure is a complicated one that students must sort out on their own.
When bad things happen, students have choices to make on how to protect themselves. Some choose to fight back against the people or events which caused them pain, thinking that they have the power to change the world into something better. Others recoil and focus on changing their internal attitude, hoping that by doing that, they can maintain happiness no matter what happens. The wisdom for what to do in different situations comes with experience.
Of the many components to a strong character, none is more important than a person having a strong system of values. A person who has strong values stands for something, has a stable guide for behavior and prevents him/herself from being taken advantage of. But if a person is too rigid with a value system, then a different problem surfaces– that person becomes oblivious to new ideas and opportunities to grow. Knowing when to change values and when to stick to them is a life-long challenge.
We constantly compare ourselves to others, often concluding that they have it much better than we do. We spend much of life idolizing people and, in the process, give them power over us. Yet, what’s lost here is the stark truth that other people have just as many insecurities and problems as we do and that, because of this, we could focus on the power we have to be the best versions of ourselves.
Enemies have a way of bringing out the worst in us. They make us act and think in mean ways. When we mimic the behaviors of our enemies we get revenge on them and feel a fleeting sense of accomplishment. But, in the process, we feel badly because we stoop to their level. Maybe resisting anger is a better way to respond. That way, we maintain self-control and draw attention to our enemy’s negative behavior and are able to preserve our own integrity.
When bad things happen, students have choices to make on how to protect themselves. Some choose to fight back against the people or events which caused them pain, thinking that they have the power to change the world into something better. Others recoil and focus on changing their internal attitude, hoping that by doing that, they can maintain happiness no matter what happens. The wisdom of what to do in different situations comes with experience.