Thank you to T.A. Barron for sponsoring this post.
There are many things that have surprised me about parenthood, not the least of which is the sheer amount of courage it takes to raise tiny humans on a daily basis. I often find strength in reading about courageous characters from some of my favorite stories. If one person understands what that is like it is T.A. Barron, author of the New York Times bestselling Merlin Saga that is currently being made into a film by Disney. He has spent the last 20 years of his life learning some of the greatest lessons from Merlin as he wrote, including the value of finding courage in our lives.
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what courage really is over the last few years. My courage was tested to its max the day I found my daughter unconscious at the bottom of a hot tub.
We almost lost her that day.
We got lucky and our story had a happy ending, but what I discovered is that my courage took a hit that was not easy to recover from.
My daughter, on the other hand, showed me what true courage is.
Just after her accident, she had some well-earned fear.
Oddly enough, water was not her biggest fear. After being whisked away in a helicopter for her Life Flight ride, without either of her parents since she was in such serious condition, she developed an intense fear that strangers were going to take her away.
She wouldn’t leave my side for months. Bit by bit she began to step out on her own and her brave spunky self returned.
I was inspired by watching her.
Finding Courage as a Mom
Several years later, while I was still trying to cope with my own lingering fear of water just before a trip to the pool I was running around like a crazy person making sure we had lifejackets and safeguards in place. I was making everyone around me crazy.
My daughter put both hands on my shoulders and said, “Mom. Stop worrying. I already know how NOT to drown. I’m going to be okay”.
Her confidence gave me the strength to find my own dose of courage. To this day, when I’m feeling afraid to step out and try something new I think of the courage she has shown me.
T.A. Barron says, “Real Courage … is not something we naturally have from birth; true Courage — the sort that shapes lives — can only fully bloom when cultivated and cared for.”
True courage is often hard to find today and is such an important lesson for kids (and adults) to learn well. T.A. Barron’s book, The Wisdom of Merlin: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life, is based on an address he gave at Oxford in 2013 and shares some of the most meaningful lessons he’s learned from channeling the wizard Merlin throughout his writing career.
Each section focuses on one magical word and explores the importance of Gratitude, Courage, Knowledge, Belief, Wonder, Generosity, Hope, and Love in our lives.
As the author of the New York Times bestselling Merlin Saga T.A. Barron has been immersed in stories of true courage for his entire career. I love stories of courage and one of the things that brought me the most comfort after my daughter’s accident was reading stories of ordinary people overcoming challenges. I felt like those stories supported me when I had lost my own courage for a while.
Finding Courage as a Mom
Here’s the thing about courage … none of us start out with it. We waver. We doubt. We have to put on a brave face even when we aren’t feeling it.
After my daughter’s near-drowning, and countless other parenting moments, I had to put on my brave face and keep going. There were definitely days when I didn’t want to but I had 6 kids watching me to see how I was going to respond to adversity.
I KNEW that my children were going to face hard things in their lives. Developing the ability to reach down within ourselves and find courage, even when we aren’t feeling brave, can open up opportunities and experiences to us that we can’t even imagine.
I wanted courage for my kids.
I wanted courage for myself.
And the only way to have courage was to find it, one step at a time.
I think we all need a reminder to be courageous every so often. My kids and I are reading our way through the Merlin Saga as a reminder of classic courage and we are also looking for ways to show courage on a daily basis.
To read more of the Wisdom of Merlin, check out 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life here.