“Thank you for that courage!” (A 45-second reading.)

February 6, 2012
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One day, many years ago at home in Uganda, I had the opportunity to give an employee some positive feedback.  He looked at me with a big smile and said, “Thank you for that courage!”

While I assumed that perhaps he meant to thank me for my encouragement, I liked the notion of courage as a commodity, something we can give to one another.

I soon learned, though, that the phrase “Thank you for that courage” is common in Uganda and comes from a literal translation of a Luganda phrase.

Since then, I have done some research and found that the word encouragement comes from 15th century French, meaning “make, put in” and “courage.”  I have also learned that the notion of “giving courage” seems to be prevalent in a number of religious and spiritual beliefs and is connected to mercy and a search for strength where there is weakness.

When I think of the times that I have been offered sincere compliments, I realize that they did cause me to stand a little straighter, to move with more intention, and to press on.

They gave me courage.

And consider this quote, attributed to Lao Tzu:

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

So, within the simple wrapper of a compliment we now have the power of mercy, the wonder of love—and the gift of courage.

Today, I shall seek opportunities to distribute courage—because I can.

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