Perhaps when you think of courage, images of soldiers, police officers and fire-fighters immediately pop into your head. These people are certainly among the first I think of. However today I am going to share a different “Portrait of Courage.”
When my son was seven years old, in second grade, he had a friend who suffered from alopecia areata. Alopecia simply means “hair loss.” You are probably familiar with the alopecia that occurs as a result of chemotherapy. However alopecia areata, is a disease in which one’s own immune system attacks hair follicles causing hair loss. Sometimes it is permanent, sometimes it isn’t. Liam’s friend was a perfectly normal, healthy, second grader who happened to also be perfectly bald.
One day, the entire student body was being positioned on the front steps of the school for a photograph. Some older boys stood behind Liam and his friend. These boys started to call Liam’s friend cruel names. My little boy turned around and confronted these much bigger boys by saying, “He has a disease called alopecia and what you are doing isn’t nice.” Maybe he embarrassed them. Maybe they were simply shocked by a much smaller boy standing up to them. Whatever the reason, the boys stopped.
I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up to bullies, especially when doing so on another person’s behalf and I have always been very proud of Liam for this simple act of friendship. Sometimes all it takes is another person who is willing to stand beside you to help you find your own inner strength and courage.