"It is real important to be brave so you are not afraid to fight boys," says Chelsea, 6. Well, before you battle boys, you'll have to battle Rebecca, 5, because she defines courage as: "You don't want to hit anybody."
Courage can be standing up to a bully or restraining an urge to punch out somebody's lights. Real courage requires wisdom.
Courage is important because "we all have to do things we don't like sometimes," says Eric, 5. "Courage is when you are brave about something you fear," says Amanda, 9. Everyone is afraid of something or someone. The difference is how you deal with your fear.
"If you're afraid to smoke, and you decide to do it, that's not being courageous," says Sarah, 9. "That's just acting goofy!"
Well said, Sarah. Never confuse goofiness with real acts of courage. Lowering your standards to go along with the crowd should never pass for courage.
"When you are courageous, you do something hard like a fireman," says Michael, 9. "It is important to be courageous because you can save someone."
Yes, we should all be grateful for the courage of fire fighters, policemen and soldiers who risk their lives to protect us.
"Courage means to be brave, not to be scared, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego," says Peter, 11. "They were courageous because they stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar."
When you know God as these three did, you're not afraid of anyone, not even a king. You live your life before an audience of one. For the complete story, read Daniel 3.
Suffice it to say, these men were cool under fire, as well as in the fire. They told the king they knew God could deliver them from the fire, but even if he didn't, they weren't about to worship a golden idol.
In the face of a burning fire, the three young men dared to trust God. Their courageous faith was helpful to others because the king learned something about the true God. He learned enough to know that his golden idol couldn't match the power of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He even issued a decree forbidding talk against their God.
Without courage, "You won't have as much fun because you will always be scared of almost everything," says Alex, 7.
Winston Churchill once said, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Living a life of faith in God is a battle. No one in his or her right mind goes looking for Goliath. But when the bully appears, as he surely will, no one wants to back down. God has called his people to live as heroes and heroines in a world of bullies. Knowing which battles to fight requires wisdom.
"The battle is the Lord's," David shouted, as he took up his slingshot to face the heavily armed giant who taunted the entire Israelite army.
"We're all scared sometimes," says Kirsten, 10. "If you really need courage, don't ask your neighbor, ask the Lord!"
Young David couldn't rely on anyone in Israel's army because they were all afraid. David was so confident in the Lord, he asked, "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
When the bullies come your way, remember the most courageous act of all time, says, Laci, 10: "It took courage for God to allow the soldiers to beat Jesus and to hang him on the cross. It took courage for Jesus to die on the cross."
Point to ponder: If you fear or respect God, you will not fear people. Scripture to remember: "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Question to consider: Have you asked God for courage and boldness?
Inspire your children by reading this column with them and visiting the Kids Talk About God website. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
And -- You'll smile, laugh and wonder when you see the new KTAG TV commercials and hear the radio spots at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org.
© 2004 CAREY KINSOLVING