Last week we went to Sulawesi in Indonesia for the week with family, and I got a lesson in bravery. Not from a grown up, but from a little girl.
We normally think of bravery as something macho. People who go into burning buildings. Who ignore fears, or are fearless. But I say that bravery is feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and that is what Lois did last week.
Lois was horribly scared the first time we lowered her down the steps of the boat, mask on and snorkel ready. She was scared of the depth of the water. Worried about the fish and what there would be hidden in the water. Worried about the things she couldn’t see.
It took some time, but we got her into the water. Hand in hand she panicked. It was too much, and she scampered back up the steps and into the safety of the boat.
We headed off and came back with stories of how amazing the under water life was. How beautiful the corals were. Would she like to have another go? Where we are now is not very deep, you can see the coral through the water, would you like to try?
She looked worried, but agreed to try again. Barry lowered her into the water, gave her some reassuring words, held her hand and pushed off from the boat over the shallow corals. Little fish swam below her, she could almost reach out and touch the coral.
Slowly she increased in confidence. Slowly she dared to cross the deeper water to get to the reef. Eventually she even swam by herself without holding someone else’s hand. By the end of the week she could dive under the water in the swimming pool and blow the water out of the snorkel tube. She was comfortable in the snorkel and mask, she had felt the fear and done it anyway.
And that to me is true bravery.