Friday, November 6, 2015

Brave And Tough

I don’t consider myself a particularly brave person.  I don’t consider myself to be a particularly tough person.  I think there have been situations and circumstances in my life where I might have performed bravely.  But those are situational, not the norm.

I remember a time back years ago as a counselor in California.  There was a shooting at lunch time on our high school campus.  Fortunately, no one died, though there were injuries.  And, the shooter was eventually caught and brought to justice.  But I remember talking to another staff member when we both heard the gunshots.  We looked at each other and broke into a run . . . towards the shooting, towards the sound of the gunshots. 

It wasn’t planned.  It was just reactive.  Both of us were concerned about the safety of the students and the safety of the staff.  Neither of us thought about our own safety, nor did anyone else who had responded.  As I said, it was in reaction to what we both knew we heard.

I think of those three brave men on the French train.  These young men, two U.S. Marines and a Brit likely saved dozens of lives when a Moroccan man opened fire aboard a train from Belgium to Paris.  I think of 9-11 and Flight 93.  Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard that plane, the attack on the U.S. Capitol was thwarted. In so doing, they lost their lives to save others.  In both cases, I think they were pretty brave and pretty tough.

I wrote in one of my posts quite some time ago about a young man I knew, Khalid.  I was his counselor and I never knew the struggles he had until he had graduated: living in a home where he wasn’t wanted; sleeping on the floor night after night all through high school; not necessarily receiving the support he so deserved from his father and step-mother as he went through school.  Yet, Khalid graduated and attended college on a football scholarship.  He became a counselor and is now an administrator.  He’s married to a beautiful young lady and together have two beautiful kids.

That takes courage to move throughout the day, each day, each week, month and year to achieve in spite of all the obstacles in his path.  Pretty brave.  Pretty darn tough.

I think of another student, Beth, who was an honor student.  Her family was homeless.  She slept in hotels when her family could afford one, otherwise it was a car or a shelter.  At times depending upon where it was when she went to bed, she would wear long sleeved shirts and slacks to bed with rubber bands on the cuffs to keep cockroaches from getting in her clothes.  She would study by flashlight when the electricity was cut off, and as I said, she was an honor student.  And each day in spite of all she went through, she would come to school and smile and work.

Like Khalid, it took courage to move throughout the day, each day, each week, month and year to achieve in spite of all the obstacles in her path.  Pretty brave.  Pretty darn tough.

Both are tougher, and both are braver than I’ll ever be.  Both are tougher, and both are braver than most anyone I know.

I think of the great philosophers, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robbin.  Christopher said to Winnie, “Promise me you’ll always remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

What a nice philosophy to impart to our children!  What a really nice philosophy to impart to each other! 

I think kids need that reminder from time to time.  I think each of us needs that reminder from time to time.  Sometimes kids, and each of us, are faced with what seem like insurmountable obstacles in our paths that prevent us from moving forward.  Sometimes these obstacles are of our own creation.  Sometimes these obstacles are created for us by others or by the situation or circumstance we find ourselves in.  So a reminder that we are “braver than we believe, stronger than we seem, and smarter than we think” is always good, always welcome.  And, perhaps we might offer a hand to lift up, a shoulder to lean on, and a smile along with a word of encouragement.  Always welcome.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
At last Splintered Lives, Book Three of The Lives Trilogy debuts on Amazon on Monday, November 9 on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and shortly thereafter in paperback.  The synopsis is as follows:
It began on the Navajo Indian Reservation when a fourteen year old boy, George Tokay, witnessed and reported the murder of a Caucasian boy his own age. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents solved that crime, which led to the freedom of thirty boys who were abducted off safe suburban streets and held in captivity, some for more than two years. The FBI thought the boys were safe and so did their parents. After all, arrest warrants were served and members of the human trafficking ring were arrested. That is, except for three dangerous men with absolutely nothing to lose.
These three men vow revenge on George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and go into hiding. What was to be a fun-filled vacation with his newly adopted family, turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Indian Reservation high up on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather.
Outnumbered and out gunned, George is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his father and his brothers. Can he save them without knowing who these men are or where they might be? Or when they might attack? Can George trust his friends whom he reaches out to for help? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and possible death?

You can find Book Two, Shattered Lives, at:

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe