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Learning at its Best

You Could Have Been Brave, But You Were Courageous Instead

Dear Joel,

You would have been brave if you had smashed that kids face into the ground. You could have done it, too. And you would have been absolutely justified. Bullying is never okay and the victim is never at fault. But you didn’t choose bravery. You chose courage instead. You boldly dealt with it by speaking out in humility and grace. You talked to me about how it felt. You invited me in to listen.  You talked to your teacher about what happened and why it was wrong. Then you moved a step further and chose forgiveness and you proved, at a young age, that love is the most courageous route possible. Thank you for the reminder about what matters.



About John Spencer

I teach. I write. I live. I want to do all three authentically.


7 thoughts on “You Could Have Been Brave, But You Were Courageous Instead

  1. Great post! Totally agree.

    Posted by kidzmet | September 7, 2011, 9:11 pm
  2. Cool Dad.


    Posted by Kirsten | September 8, 2011, 2:42 pm
  3. I am glad you and Joel found each other for this conversation; I’ve been learning a lot from my children and students about how schools practice blame. There is so little room made for kids to experience or learn or feel forgiveness. You are both right about bullying and courage – how can schools understand complexity better?

    With thanks,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | September 8, 2011, 6:48 pm
    • I think schools do a disservice when they take a Zero Tolerance policy about bullying. Ultimately, the issues require reconciliation and conflict resolution. I’m not saying schools should take it lightly, but rather treat it like a learning opportunity.

      Posted by John T. Spencer | September 8, 2011, 11:48 pm


  1. Pingback: You Could Have Been Brave, But You Were Courageous Instead | Cooperative Catalyst | - September 7, 2011

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