In a world where physical courage appears to be more common than moral courage, it is important to recognize and applaud those who exhibit acts of moral courage. Mark Twain, more than a century ago, pondered the rarity of moral courage compared to its physical counterpart. However, if moral courage entails knowing what is right and standing up for it despite fear or obstacles, it seems that we have not made significant progress in this area. In fact, distressing news about the decline of moral courage seems to greet us every day.
When confronted with instances of moral courage, it is crucial to acknowledge and commend those individuals who demonstrate it. By doing so, we can become inspired and empowered to cultivate more of it in our own lives.
One story that vividly exemplifies moral courage stems from Kansas City, Missouri. Three years ago, Shetara Sims, a struggling single black mother who had lost her job during the early stages of the pandemic and tragically lost her daughter to street violence in 2012, performed an extraordinary act. Despite having only seven dollars to her name, when she stumbled upon a dollar bill on the ground, she decided to purchase a lottery ticket. Miraculously, she won $100. However, rather than using the money for herself, she selflessly donated her entire winnings to aid a police officer who had recently been shot in the head. This act of kindness was a testament to her gratitude for the way the police had handled her daughter’s death. Expressing her appreciation in this manner was entirely her choice, as she had no obligation to make such a donation. In response, the Kansas City police created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $10,000 for Shetara. Within a few months, the campaign generated over $167,000.
Utilizing the funds raised by the police, Shetara established a company called Prestige Hauling & Delivery in 2021. Through her company, she has since assisted numerous individuals in obtaining commercial driver’s licenses and starting afresh in life. Shetara’s inspiring and courageous actions serve as a reminder of the transformative power of moral courage.
Another example of moral courage dates back approximately 30 years and is a story that has been shared countless times. Ted Engstrom recounts this tale in his book “Integrity.” The events unfolded in the small town of Conyers, Georgia, inhabited by individuals characterized by their integrity, self-reliance, and patriotism.
During the school’s post-season basketball games, the officials discovered that one of their players, who had merely played 45 seconds in the first game, was academically ineligible. In a remarkable display of honesty and adherence to their principles, the school returned the state championship trophy they had just won a few weeks prior. Although they could have kept quiet and possibly evaded detection, the team and the town rallied behind the school’s decision. The coach emphasized the importance of doing what is honest, right, and in accordance with the rules, even if they were unaware of the player’s ineligibility at the time. This act of moral courage resonated deeply, teaching the players a fundamental lesson that their character mattered more than any championship title.
These stories serve as a source of inspiration for all of us. Their impact on our spirits and character cannot be underestimated. If we desire to improve as individuals and as a society, we must seek out and share more stories of moral courage. By embracing these stories, we elevate our collective character and fortify our commitment to doing what is right.
One resource that can help nurture our moral courage is the thought-provoking article titled “Are We Good Enough for Liberty?” It invites us to reflect on our individual and societal moral compass and encourages us to share it with our friends and family. By engaging with profound and challenging ideas, we can foster a culture that recognizes and values moral courage.
In conclusion, the scarcity of moral courage, as noted by Mark Twain, remains a concern in our time. However, by celebrating and learning from instances of moral courage, such as Shetara Sims’ selfless act and the Conyers basketball team’s integrity, we can nurture and cultivate this essential virtue within ourselves and inspire others to do the same. Through the power of moral courage, we can build a society that embraces honesty, integrity, and a steadfast commitment to doing what is right.