Courage downloadable eBook


A university professor, knowing her students expected a tediously long and difficult final exam in psychology, decided to play with their minds. She created a single question for the exam.

On exam day, her eyes gleamed with keen anticipation as the students opened their papers.

Immediate relief flooded every face – followed by confusion and consternation. Frowns creased brows, and several mouths dropped open. They all looked at the professor in disbelief.

All, that is, except one. One read the question, tapped a pen into his palm a few times, and then made a quick notation on the paper. He got to his feet, handed in the exam paper, and left the room. Fifty-eight pairs of shocked eyes followed him.

The professor opened the paper, and smiled broadly. With sweeping strokes, her red pen wrote “100%” on the top of the student’s test, and looked again at the paper’s two sentences:

Her question: What is courage?

His answer: This is.

That student found it easy to define courage, and did so with action. The others found it difficult, as you may – as we did until we began research for this book on this everyday character trait.

What is courage?



Courage – eleven elements. If it’s real courage, it bears the marks of each element – reveals the most hidden parts of a man or woman’s heart – chooses convictions over fear.

Have you ever witnessed that kind of moral courage – heard someone speak about courage that fits that definition? What about these examples?

The news anchor stated that the four year old was courageous to dial 911 and get help for his mother. Did that child exhibit true moral courage or simply do as the Kindergarten teacher had taught him?

Your state senator, despite advice to the contrary, launched a major speech with a very politically incorrect statement. Could that have been courage, or was it merely a reckless decision?

An Iraqi lawyer and father voluntarily put his life on the line to lead U.S. forces to the rescue of a suffering young American prisoner of war. Did that lawyer manifest moral courage?

A high school girl collected used and new prom dresses to sell inexpensively to girls on more limited budgets. Did she manifest courage, or some other trait of character?

A grade school boy established a rescue program that saves canines from euthanasia and finds homes for them. Do we salute his act as courage, or some other character trait that makes a difference?

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