Wednesday, April 03, 2013

C is for . . . Courage

Image Courtesy: Raj Manchekar
My little hijos,

C is for cake. You like to eat it, I like to bake. In your impatience to dig in, you, La Niña, my chief taster, stick a spoon into the still unmixed batter and taste it before I can stop you. Your mouth twists into a grimace. "Yuck, disgusting," you cry.

And yet the same ingredients mixed together in the right proportion and baked at the right temperature yield the gooey goodness you love. 

Life's like that. Often you're tempted to give in to despair, unaware that the most insipid mess has the potential to be transformed into confection heaven. All you need is Courage, a very valuable C to stock in your survival kit.

In school, my history books led me to believe that courage was the preserve of those who didn't flinch in battle. My years on earth have taught me that it takes as much courage to live. To work hard and break the piggy bank to pay the bills even as the debts mount. To get out of the comfort of your quilt every morning and face a harsh day. To struggle against the increasing odds. To tackle demons that won't stay down.


When I was little, I used to think my father, your Papa, was the most courageous man in the world. He was the only one who didn't scream and jump up on the sofa or the table when a cockroach or lizard was sighted.

It never occurred to me that there might have been some things he was afraid of too. Things that he faced in spite of his fears. Things that he pretended not to fear.

Today I realise the extent of his courage when I am faced with situations in which I am afraid. When the lights go off suddenly, and you cry out of fear, I quail too. Aren't grownups allowed to be afraid of the dark? I steel my voice and gather you around. And then we laugh and sing loudly and slightly off-key. Calming the tremors with song. 

Your Papa's courage has taught me that when you and I are afraid of the same things, I'm the one that must make 'big eyes' at the thing that scares us all.


As you grow through life, you will learn that there are many different shades of courage. The courage it takes to stand up to bullies, to admit one's mistakes and say sorry, to admit defeat and make a fresh start, to admit fear and face scorn, to attempt something new and difficult. At some time or the other, you may be called upon to display one of these shades. When that happens, show them you have the courage you need, even if you don't. They'll never be able to call your bluff.

My wish for you is that you may be of stout Courage and do the thing that needs to be done, no matter how wild and fierce may be the tempest raging in your heart. When life shreds you apart, I wish that you may have the courage to rest your tired bones awhile and then stitch all the cracks together.

Stitching is another useful skill to have in your survival kit. Your Grandma taught me that.

You too, El Niño. Don't tell me you're a boy. I already know that.

Hasta Mañana. Tomorrow I'll tell you about one of D most important things your Papa ever taught me.




27 comments:

  1. "When life shreds you apart, I wish that you may have the courage to rest your tired bones awhile and then stitch all the cracks together" - Lovely read!

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  2. A nice lesson on courage. However I teach my children that life is a gift to be savoured and enjoyed and that God never sends anything your way that you don't have the strength or courage to face.

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  3. Thank you, Suzy. I agree with you about the fact that God doesn't give us anything that we can't handle. But that is a lesson I have reserved for another letter.

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  4. Indeed, there are many shades of courage! Well said!

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  5. Your day to day posts are like lessons not only to your kids but also to all of. Us !!
    Courage indeed to take that plunge in what ever way
    Good read :)

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  6. Thank you, Afshan. The good thing about working on this theme is that it helps me to clarify these values in my own mind too.

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  7. I so look forward to your posts ! I love the example of cake and the mess our lives become at times - only to sort themselves out in the best way possible !

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  8. A lot of learnings from this post not only for the kids but also for us! :)

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  9. Thank you, Ruchira, you have no idea how encouraged your words make me feel. God bless you.

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  10. Thank you, Shilpa, I'm learning too in the process of putting my thoughts together. :)

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  11. I am loving your posts so much.
    "Life's like that. Often you're tempted to give in to despair, unaware that the most insipid mess has the potential to be transformed into confection heaven."
    Profound.

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  12. Another gem. I tell you, on May 1 you're going to have a beautiful book with the 26 posts! Love this.

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  13. I told you in our chat this evening and see that Vidya says exactly the same thing - this is the making of a wonderful book. You're stitching it together brilliantly indeed!

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  14. I am beginning to look forward to your gems every morning Cynthia ? Do you realize you are creating a life time gift for your children :)

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  15. I too voice others opinion that this is gonna make one wonderful book. Wonderful post.

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  16. There is no stronger word than Courage! Courage is admitting your mistakes and not repeating them again.

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  17. Thank you, Shail. Your words encourage me tremendously.

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  18. Hmm, Vidya, your comment brought a huge smile to my face. If I am not careful, my face might be split into two horizontally.

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  19. Ah, Corinne our chat heartened me so much. It gave me renewed courage to tackle the D that evening.

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  20. Thank you for your kind words, Sridevi. My kids are still very small. My daughter just turned five. I can't wait for them to grow up and read these posts.

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  21. Thank you Janu. Maybe I should start thinking about a book too.

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  22. It is true, isn't it, Sulekkha? Having a courageous disposition is half the battle won.

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  23. That was very inspiring one! Lovely too :-)

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  24. You are so right ! Well written :)

    For me Courage was something I never had.
    It was born within me when my fears increased.
    It was the option, I chose to survive.

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