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July 27, 2015

True Courage

Hal photo outside Feb2012“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” (Mark Twain)

The wife and I finally showed “The Sixth Sense” to our kids last night (they’re 18 and 16). Always fun to introduce them to great movies, especially one with such an incredible surprise ending.

I hadn’t seen the film in a long while; I forgot how scary it could be. What also struck me this time was the courageous transformation of the boy, played so brilliantly by Haley Joel Osment. Facing an otherworldly challenge none of us can imagine, this boy’s healing began when he actually paused, in the midst of his terrible fear, and listened to his ghosts.

“No fear” is a popular brand/phrase, but it’s not nearly as helpful as it sounds. Pausing in the face of fear, listening to what scares you, takes true courage.

Afraid your spouse doesn’t love you? Pause, breathe, and ask her—without trying to manipulate the answer. Afraid your kid is getting into deep waters? Pause, breathe, and take him out for fries and a Coke. Confess your fears, then ask him about his.

It’s okay to be scared; it’s not courageous to pretend you’re not.


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