Sam Radford

August 23, 2021

Bravery has many faces

Glennon Doyle shared some astute thoughts in a post on Instagram last week. Here’s what she said: 

There is a family next to me at the store. I just heard the dad say to his kid: “Well, it’s brave to go on a roller coaster. And it’s also brave to say you don’t want to go on a roller coaster.” Wanted to tell you something. That is good.

She then added:

Brave is matching your insides and outsides.
If one wants to ride and does, that's brave.
If one does not want to ride and doesn't- that's brave.
Actions are not inherently brave- the honoring of the inner compass instead of the outer expectation is the braveness.
Brave cannot be judged by the crowd. Sometimes we are the only one who knows we've been brave.
And that is enough.
That is everything.

Reading this made me realise this is something I need to be better at with my two girls.

My youngest daughter, Imogen, is the one who gets affirmed the most for being brave. She’s the one who say yes to the rollercoaster. Or, more recently, going all out on the BMX track we’ve started going to. 

My eldest, Eloise, doesn’t often enjoy these types of experiences. Though I continue to think there’s a role for nudging your kids to try new experiences and challenges, this is an important reminder for me: Bravery has many faces.

The truth is, Eloise is remarkably brave. But Eloise being brave looks different from Imogen being brave. And though, culturally, Imogen might manifest bravery in the ways that are more widely celebrated, Eloise is no less brave. 

I need to get better at providing her affirmation about that.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |