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Practicing the Virtues: Courage


Practice the virtues with your kids this summer, one each week. This week, focus on honesty, or what the Church calls courage.

What is courage?

The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines courage this way: “The virtue of bravery in facing difficulties, especially in overcoming the fear of consequences in doing good. As moral courage, it enables a person to pursue a course deemed right, through which one may incur contempt, disapproval, or opprobrium.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls courage fortitude, and defines it this way: “Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause” (#1808).

Let’s break that down for younger kids this way: “Courage is being brave enough to do what is right, even when it is difficult.”

Break it down

  • Spend some time brainstorming with your older kids and teens what it means to have courage or fortitude. What are some historical examples of people who had courage?
  • The stories of the saints are full of examples of courage. Read some of the stories of the martyrs to your older kids.
  • What are some examples of when people in your family have to have courage? Where does courage come from? How can someone become more courageous if they are afraid? (Christians develop courage by deepening their relationship with God; the deeper and stronger their trust in God, the less they fear dangers and obstacles.)


The Virtue Tickets Game: Courage

This week, focus on training your kids to recognize the virtue of courage by inviting them to issue virtue tickets whenever they see courage in action.

  • Print out the sheet of Virtue Tickets for the virtue of courage (found here: Virtue Tickets – Courage), or make your own.
  • Have your kids cut out the individual tickets as you discuss the virtue of courage using the talking points above.
  • Throughout the week, have your kids “issue tickets” by filling out a ticket with the appropriate details whenever they “catch” someone practicing the virtue of courage. You can play this game in one of three ways (or blend the three methods):
  • Option 1: Invite your kids to actually issue the ticket to the person responsible for practicing the virtue. At the end of the week, family members can turn their tickets in for a prize that the whole family can enjoy—for instance, if everyone in the family manages to collect 25 tickets altogether, then the family will order pizza, and the kids can choose which type it will be. If the family collects 35 tickets altogether, the kids can choose ice cream to go with it, etc.
  • Option 2: Whenever your kids spot an instance of courage anywhere—on television, at the mall, in the family—they fill out a ticket, which they keep. As with option 1, the tickets are counted at the end of the week for a family prize.
  • Option 3: You’re the primary ticket-writer. When you write out the ticket for your youngster, write a “penalty” (really a reward) on the back, redeemable at the end of the week (for older kids) or immediately (children under age 7).
  • Your kids might enjoy issuing tickets to friends, neighbors, store clerks, etc.
Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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