What would you do if you weren't afraid?

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

September 12, 2013
Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School - St. Margaret's School

At St. Margaret’s School (SMS), you will see girls who are fully engaged (both in learning and leading), confident in sharing their voices, and comfortable trying new things.  Last week, our Student Council led the Welcome Back assembly encouraging the students to embrace the culture of SMS and to get involved.  They also talked about those values espoused in our Strategic Plan and their desire to highlight one value each month.  To get us started, the girls chose to talk about Courage – a most appropriate topic given the start of a new school year, meeting new teachers, taking on new courses, encountering other students, and participating in Outweek with our Challenge by Choice program (September 14th – 19th).  Here is the advice they shared with the rest of the students:
Have the courage to embrace the opportunities offered to you, (Sheryl)
but also have the courage to create your own! (Meg)

Have the courage to try something new at St. Margaret’s (Ivy)
and the courage to stand up after you fall. (Jenna)

Have the courage to be loud and to be heard, (Megan)
as well as the courage to be silent and to hear someone else. (Mina)

I hope all the new students have the courage to make new friends (Hasrut)
(and) the courage to say hi to the person next to you. (Amy)

Have the courage to willingly go into a situation blindly, (Lista)
but have the courage to own your mistakes. (Miranda)

Have the courage to do something outside your comfort zone. (Fandi)
Even if you’re not an athlete, have the courage to join a new sport. (Beatriz)
So have the courage to leave no regrets behind at the end of the year, (Haddas)
because life is not a dress rehearsal. (Cathy T.)

This presentation led me to think about “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” You have the option of facing your fears or running away. Some people say that courage is the ability to “know what to fear and what not to fear.”  I believe courage is a state of mind or spirit that enables one to face fear with confidence, self-possession, resolve, AND to get out there and make a difference – for yourself and for others. Someone once gave me a mug (which I still use today) that states:  “Everyone’s a hero if you catch them at the right moment!” At SMS, we encourage the girls to “lean in” to their fears, take risks, look for possibilities, learn from mistakes, and grow as individuals.  We need to encourage our girls to speak up and to share what is on their minds.  Let’s help our girls understand that when someone is fearful they lose their sense of agency. At SMS, we’re here to help them when they are struggling to be brave, and to celebrate when their courage carries the day.
Republished from the SMS Blog: The Head's Tales, by Cathy Thornicroft. St. Margaret's School will be exploring themes related to each of the school's core values laid out in the 10-year Strategic Plan with each passing month throughout the year - September is Courage. Stay tuned for related articles.
Further reading/viewing:
TEDtalk with Jennifer Robinson – Courage is Contagious
Lean In