One of the hardest times to demonstrate courage is when we need to stand up for what is right or to do the right things when others are choosing to act in a manner that is not fair or not safe. No matter our age we are all subjected to peer pressure. Both adults and kids get in situations when there are injustices taking place, either by word or action, and we are confronted with the question if we are going to speak up to friends or leaders in our community.
This is very hard. Ralph W. Sockman once said; “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” It takes courage to speak up, but that is what leaders do. Leaders lead the way and do what’s right even when it is hard to do. They do what is right because it is the right thing to do, and not based on what others will think or do.
How we develop the ability to do this is by making decisions based on internal values and not external values or influences. It is not that we do not care what others think, we must have empathy for the feelings of others, but we have core values and a conscious that helps direct us into doing the right thing no matter the opinion or influences of others. I have not spent anytime on the subject of teaching our children how to think for themselves, but I will put that on my list of things to write about, but in very simple terms as parents we must first and most importantly demonstrate that for our children. If they see that we are influenced by what our peers have, say and do – they will act and react in the same manner, even in things that we thought that we taught them better in.
How do we know though if an issue is to big for us to handle by ourselves? If we are a child and we see something taking place that we know is not correct, good, safe, and fair to someone else and we do not know what to say or do – it is time to ask for the assistance of an adult. If we are an adult and we do not know how to handle a situation or if it bigger than we are prepared for, it is OK to ask for help and advice. That is what leaders do. Great leaders always know when to ask for help.
Asking for help if we are not able to right a wrong is so much better than seeing an injustice and ignoring it, choosing not to be involved. Being involved is what citizenship in our community is all about.