Practicing Courage

August 20th, 2009



When was the last time you actively practiced courage?  Personally, I’m afraid that I can’t remember.   I mean, I try to be brave if the occasion requires it, but I actually don’t look to put myself into situations that will actively call for this.  Seriously, at my age, navigating the subway in Manhattan felt brave.


Well, I have just spent the week with my newly arrived international college students.  You see, by day I’m an English language teacher (by night, cool blogger).  This semester I have 17 students from 11 different countries.  I know what you’re thinking: “How awesome is that job.”  I agree.


At the beginning of each semester, I always enjoy the fresh blood and cultural diversity and am one of the lucky ones that looks forward to the start of school.  But I have to say that this week, I not only felt lucky, but inspired.


courage.chineseAfterall, when was the last time that any of us decided to leave our homeland, travel half-way around the world to an unfamiliar country and begin a college program in a language that we either didn’t know at all or could just get by in?  That’s what these amazing young people are all doing.  They’ve set these incredible linguistic and academic goals for themselves, left behind their familiar lives, paid their tuition and got on that plane. And no one told them they had to.  They just decided that they would take on this courageous adventure and see if they could mold a better future for themselves via this path.


Again, I ask you, I ask myself, when is the last time we/I not only stepped out of our comfort zone in any significant way, but flew out of it and landed in what probably seems like the twilight zone?  Okay, maybe such a life change is not for everyone, but I’m sure that there are challenges that call to each of us to step out of our comfort zones and act courageously.


I salute these students and find inspiration in their courage to actively seek their unknown future, to take on a new culture, new country, new language, new life path.   Practicing courage…what a great idea.   Again, a case of the students teaching the teacher.


Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

3 Responses to “Practicing Courage”

  1. Great post and very true. Great people got that way by stepping outside their comfort zone regularly.

  2. Must confess that one of my greatest fears is having to fend for myself in a place where no English is spoken. I’ve tried a few times, but with great resistance and anxiety. I agree with you about your students, they are brave. If it were me, I’d head for home as soon as possible. A total wimp.

  3. @ Michael…stepping out is good, no?

    @ Steve – Fending for oneself in another country or just in an unfamiliar situation is always a challenge for most people, I think. Some folks just hide the anxiety better, and do it anyways. Just a hunch.

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