Caring, courage, and heroism

The capacity for courage and heroism does not appear only with adults. Even young children can overcome fear to make courageous decisions. For example, read the NBC article about the four-year-old who pulled her 2-year-old sister from the wreckage of a car crash that killed their mother. Both girls were fortunate that a passersby noticed some damage on a tree in dense woods and stopped to investigate.

Courage is elevated by caring to the level of heroism. In my book Raising Courageous Kids, I wanted to understand the origins of the incredible heroism on 9-11. The eight steps begin from power to willpower in preschoolers, then from community to caring, and finally from responsibility to valor in adolescents. Each step features recipients under 19 years of age who received the Carnegie Hero Medal. You can read about them in Raising Courageous Kids. You can also visit the Carnegie Hero Website to review stories of recipients. Consider 13-year-old Camelio Torres:

Camelio Torres helped to save Camille N. Garcia from drowning, Cuba, New Mexico, April 28, 1990. Camille, 2, was inside her family's sport/utility vehicle when it rolled into Dragonfly Lake and began to sink in water that was 12 feet deep. Fully clothed, her cousin, Camelio, 13, student, immediately entered the lake, despite its very cold water, and swam to the vehicle. Reaching it when it was about 20 feet from the bank, Camelio entered through its back door and, crawling over the back seat, went to Camille and seized her. Holding her, Camelio maneuvered back to the rear door and left the vehicle with her. A fisherman who had also entered the water for Camille swam to the vehicle and took Camille to the bank, Camelio following. Within moments of the rescue, the vehicle was completely submerged.

Conduct a search of your town and state. You might be surprised by who and what you discover.

The stories I featured in Raising Courageous Kids were drawn from the Carnegie Hero Website. I emphasized in the book that there are many examples of heroism other than the more dramatic form as revealed by those receiving the Carnegie Hero Medal. But those young recipients challenge us to reach out to others in their time of need. We all have the power of similar courage elevated by nobility and caring.

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