A Lesson in Courage

Let’s Read  A Little Chicken by Tammi Sauer

     Sauer, Tammi, and Dan Taylor. A Little Chicken. Sterling Children’s Books, 2019.

Find this book at your local library, bookstore, OR…

How can you celebrate Memorial Day and teach about the virtue of courage at the same time? Read A Little Chicken with your little ones.

Let’s Think

For us:

Dot, “who was a little chicken,” is afraid of many things. So am I! Can’t we all relate to that little chicken? The truth is, there are times to be afraid and there are times to do the right thing even when you’re afraid of doing it. That’s what makes courage a virtue. Actually, it’s one of the cardinal virtues. The word cardinal means “hinge”. That means courage is one of the virtues that other virtues hinge (or depend) on. That just goes to show what we already knew – it often takes courage to do the right thing. And it makes courage an important virtue to teach our children.

The choice to be courageous, or brave, is always a matter of choosing the greater good. In Dot’s case, avoiding what she is afraid of is good. But saving her baby sister is a greater good. In another example, keeping your child close to you so you can keep her completely safe is good. But letting your first born go off to the first day of Kindergarten so she can learn is a greater good. (Even if you do shed a few tears when she’s out of sight.) Thinking of things in terms of the greater good can sometimes help us grow in the important virtue of courage.

I chose the story of a little chicken for this Memorial Day weekend. I am in awe of the courage it must take to stand up and fight for our country and the freedom of its citizens. So many men and women have chosen the greater good and fought to protect us and our rights to life, liberty, and happiness. So many men and women have lost their lives doing so. This Memorial Day, we pray for the souls of all those who did the right thing – and paid for it with their lives. We remember too, their loved ones, who courageously live with their loss.

For our children:  

Dot is a little chicken. She’s afraid of many things. But when her little sister, an egg, needs her help, Dot springs into action. Saving that egg is the right thing to do even though it is hard for her. That’s being brave. That’s having courage. For example, sometimes it takes courage to try a new food. But you might end up liking a new food that helps your body grow strong. Perhaps you are afraid of telling the truth when you make a mistake. But telling the truth is the right thing. That’s what courage is:  Doing the right thing even when it is hard. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means doing the right thing even though you’re afraid.

Let’s Talk  

  1. What is Dot afraid of?
  2. How does Dot show courage?
  3. Why does Dot show courage?
  4. What are you afraid of?
  5. How can you show courage?

Let’s Do
My Brave…

  1. Write “My Brave…” on a piece of colored paper.*
  2. Help your child name some situations in which she needs courage. Some examples:
    • a scary story,
    • first day of school
    • being in the dark
    • when another child is mean to you
    • going to the dentist
    • staying overnight at someone else’s house
    • telling the truth when you’ve done something wrong
    • playing on a new team or trying a new sport
    • being nice to a younger sibling when he/she is being demanding or difficult
    • going down the high slide at the playground
  1. Write each situation on a card or ½ sheet of paper.
  2. Choose a situation to practice courage with this week and post it on the “My Brave…” paper, perhaps on the refrigerator.
  3. Then celebrate when your child is brave and courageous! Great ways to celebrate include putting a sticker on the “My Brave…” paper or playing a game the child especially enjoys.
  4. How about adding some “My Brave…” situations of your own? It’s a virtue we all need to practice.

* I wish to thank Elizabeth who blogs at Cheeky Days: http://www.cheekydays.com for inspiring the “My Brave” activity.

Alternate Activity:

  1. Make the scary situation cards as directed above.
  2. Then take turns acting out the situations, role-playing ways to do the right thing, with courage

Alternate Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Explain that we celebrate Memorial Day to remember members of the armed forces who fought in wars to protect our country. We especially remember those who died.
  2. Make a flag out of construction paper, and tape it to a straw.
  3. Put the flag somewhere to help you remember to pray for those who fought for our country and those who are fighting for our country now. You could stick the flag into a potted plant or on your refrigerator.

Another Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Attend a local Memorial Day parade. Learn how to salute veterans.
  2. Visit a local cemetery and leave flowers on a relative’s grave.
  3. Or, leave flowers on a veteran’s grave. They will always have a flag on their grave.

Let’s Pray
Dear God,
Sometimes it is really hard to be brave.
Sometimes I am afraid.
Sometimes I am even afraid of doing the right thing.
But then I remember –
You are always with me.
You are always there, loving me, helping me to do what is right.
You help me to find courage.
Thank you God, for helping me choose
to do the right thing.
Thank you for all the people
who have done the right thing
to keep me safe
to give me all the good things that I have.
Thank you for the people who care for me.
Thank you for all the people I love.
Thank you, Lord,
for my heart
that is sometimes a little chicken
and sometimes very brave.
Amen.

Word Every Catholic Should Know
virtue: the habit of doing actions that are good. Developing virtues and doing the right thing is pleasing to God. Courage is a virtue.

Scripture
The story of Joshua found in Joshua 1: 1-9.

Let’s Remember
This week, in what situation are you going to show courage and do the right thing?

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