Can You Learn to Be Courageous?

Soldier’s Ghost

“I bled for you – would you for me?

I blessed a skin in blazing fuel
Then took a bullet in a duel of
‘He or I to Die.’

I often question ‘Why? ‘
Do you?

My country was my life to give –
Would you for country cease to live?
Sinking in a mire of death,
You have no choice –
So while you’re still alive,

I cried in failure – did you care?
And as I waned, were you aware of
What I did -?
Fighting for my country while you hid
Behind your comfort back at home?

Still relaxed?
My wife and child are fading at the tomb. ”


Mark R Slaughter 2009

To become a soldier,  one must have no fear of dying.  A soldier dedicates his life and blood to his country and fellow fighters. Soldiers are leaders that have tremendous innate courage. You can not train or be taught how to be brave. In the movie Captain America, Steve Rogers is a frail young man who yearns to be in the military to fight during WWII. He was not suited as a strong man or soldier imagery, but his determination and courage made him stand out from all of them. When Steve was training in boot camp, his platoon was tested by their Sgt. The test was a fake grenade being thrown at them and seeing how the soldiers would react.  All of them took cover and only cared about themselves, but Steve Rogers threw himself on top of the grenade and made sure everybody else would be safe.  This made Rogers a great candidate to be an important soldiers, because he acted courageously without any doubt.  The fact that this soldier, Steve Rogers, wanted to defend his country, dedicate his life to serving others and acting courageously.

Personally, I don’t think you can be taught courage. Every leader, or protagonist, has courage within that help them progress through the obstacle in the story. A guru doesn’t teach his students to be wise, they self realize when a time comes that they had the wisdom.

A soldier is a good definition for courage; “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous” (merriam-webster).

The Person Within.

“Without fear there cannot be courage

Fear drives the unthinkable out of us

What gives you courage when there is none?
What gives you courage to get out of bed?
What gives you courage to drive when you know it’s dangerous?
What gives you courage to succeed?
What gives you courage to survive?
What gives you courage to strive?

People have courage to live for their children
People have courage to live for themselves
People have courage to live for hope
People have courage because they believe
People have courage to not give up

Fear is not the essence of life
But a free soul not tamed

Courage is the journey of your heart
Guided by strength
On a path of untamed obstacles

Let courage guide you
As you begin your quest”

Alisha Ricks
This poem describes how Courage can come from different aspects. For example, a Firefighter’s courage is different compared to jumping off a rock into the water for fun. For a Firefighter, running into a burning building to save someone takes great strength. An example would be, on 9/11, as thousands of people were trying to run out of the building because of the extreme hot flames. Firefighters entered the building, climbing the stairs, to try to save people who were trapped in the building. Even though, they knew the chances of survival were slim. That is a courageous act, being able to do the unthinkable through fear and pain.
A different type of courage could be for fun, like jumping off a rock into water. The courage comes from within you, and can only be controlled by yourself. While standing on a forty foot ledge, being able to will yourself off of it takes tremendous courage. Your instincts say not to jump, but your mind takes control and tells you to jump. In within a split second, you’re free falling through the air, hitting the icy cold water. “Fear drives the unthinkable out of us” creating courageous acts to be performed daily.
Another act of courage could be standing up for a person you may not know, whom may be bullied, and know in your heart that it’s the right thing to help them. To stand by a person who is in harm’s way, proves that you have the courage to reach out and care for others.
“Courage is the journey of your heart, Guided by strength, On a path of untamed obstacles.” The more obstacles you are faced with, teaches us what our strength and  weaknesses are. Every obstacle creates a stronger individual, no matter what way you view it.

Feminist Courage in the 15th Century

Joan of Arc was born into the world on 6 January 1412 to Jacques and Isabelle d’Arc in the village of Domremy of eastern France. At the time Joan of Arc was born into the world, the truce between France and England was still in effect. However, an internal war had erupted between two factions of the French Royal family, which would enable the English to invade more easily.

One side of the French Royal family, known as the Orleanist and Armagnac faction, was led by Count Bernard VII of Armagnac and Duke Charles of Orleans. Their rivals, known to the world as the Burgundians, were led by Duke John-the-fearless of Burgundy. As the French remained divided, diplomats failed to extend the truce with England. King Henry V promptly invaded France in August 1415 and defeated the Armagnac-dominated French army at the Battle of Agincourt on the twenty-fifth of October. In 1417, the English returned and gradually started conquering northern France and gaining the support of Burgundy in 1420. The new Burgundian Duke, Philip III, agreed to recognize Henry V as the legal heir to the French throne while rejecting the rival claim of the rightful successor, Charles of Ponthieu. Charles of Ponthieu was the last heir of he Valois dynasty which had ruled France since 1328.

At the age of twelve, Joan began to experience visions which she described as both verbal communication as well as visible figures of saints and angels which she could see and touch. Her own testimony as well as a Royal document say that on at least two occasions specific other persons could see the same figures. Joan identified these visions as St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Margaret of Antioch, the Archangel Michael, Gabriel, and other large groups of angels. The Archangel Michael, was the only vision with definite relevance to the military situation as he had been chosen in 1422 as one of the patron saints of the French Royal army and as a patron of the fortified island of Mont-Saint-Michel.

It was at this moment that an unexpected turn of event began to unfold. Joan of Arc said that for some time, prior to 1428, the saints in her visions had been urging her to go to France and drive out the English and Burgundians. They explained to Joan that God supported Charles’ claim to the throne, supported Orleans’ captive overlord Duke Charles of Orleans, and had taken pity on the French population for the suffering they had endured during the war. When Baudricourt received confirmation of the predicted defeat, he promptly arranged for an armed escort to bring Joan through enemy territory to Chinon. Her escorts dressed Joan in male clothing, which would offer an added measure of security. Eleven days later, Joan of Arc arrived at Chinon and was brought into Charles’ presence. She was able to convince Charles,’ however, he wanted her to be examined by a group of theologians in order to test her orthodoxy.

After providing Joan with a suit of armor that was made exactly for her body, they brought her to the army at Blois, which was approximately 35 miles southwest of Orleans. Her arrival had brought forth reformation to the soldiers; requiring them to go to church and confession, give up swearing, and refrain from looting and harassing the civilian population. Men who would otherwise have refused to serve Charles’ defeated cause now began to volunteer for the campaign, as word that a saint was now at the head of the army began to change minds.

On May 4, Joan and her troops made it to Orleans. Within a few hours of their arrival, an assault was launched against an English-held fortified church called Saint Loup. The position was carried after Joan rode up with her banner, encouraging the troops up and over the ramparts. The English causalities totaled 114 dead and 40 captured. The French troops were sent over a pontoon bridge around nine in the morning, and induced the English to abandon St-Jean-le-Blanc without a fight. The fortress was then stormed and overrun with few losses. This placed Les Tourelles within striking range: during the course of the next morning’s assault, Joan herself was wounded by an arrow while helping the soldiers set up a scaling ladder. She returned to the field near dusk in order to encourage the demoralized troops to one final effort which met with success. Orleans was the English high-water mark: never again would they come so close to achieving a final victory against Charles, who would soon be anointed as King Charles VII.

After a minor action at La-Charite-sur-Loire in November and December, Joan traveled to Compiegne the following April to help defend the city against an English and Burgundian siege. A skirmish on 23 May 1430 led to her capture, when her force attempted to attack the Burgundian’s camp at Margny. When she ordered a retreat into the nearby fortifications of Compiegne after the advance of an additional force of 6,000 Burgunidans, she assumed the place of honor as the last to leave the field.



Courage by definition, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, difficulty or fear. The first known use of the word courage was in the fourteenth century. The word courage comes from Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, and from quer and coer – meaning heart in Latin.

Etymology: c.1300, from O.Fr. corage (12c., Mod.Fr. courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from V.L. *coraticum (cf. It. coraggio, Sp. coraje), from L. cor “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

Synonyms include: bravery, courageousness, daring, daringness, dauntlessness, doughtiness, fearlessness, gallantry, greatheartedness, guts, gutsiness, hardihood, heart, heroism, intestinal fortitude, intrepidity, intrepidness, moxie, nerve, prowess, stoutness, valor, virtue

Antonyms include: cowardice, cowardliness, cravenness, dastardliness, poltroonery, spinelessness

Related Words include: backbone, fiber, fortitude, grit, gumption, mettle, pluck, pluckiness, spunk, temper, determination, perseverance, resolution, endurance, stamina, stomach, tenacity, audacity, boldness, brazenness, cheek, effrontery, gall, temerity

Near Antonyms include: cold feet, faintheartedness, fearfulness, mousiness, timidity, timorousness; feebleness, softness, weakness, impotence, ineffectualness, hesitation, indecision, indecisiveness, irresolution