Dear KES Family:
We all want to be heroes. When the defining moments are upon us, we all want to be the one who has the awareness and courage to step up and do the right thing, to make the big play, to save the day. Until the situation presents itself, we don’t know how we will react, but for sure, there is not one of us that does not hope that when the time comes we will be heroic.
Three situations this week:
James Shaw Jr. is being hailed as the Waffle House Hero. Very early last Sunday morning in a Nashville, Tennessee Waffle House, he found himself in the middle of his defining moment: a gunman entered and started shooting the restaurant guests with an automatic rifle. One can only imagine the shock and terror of sound and smoke and screams as the lethal attack took place. In the briefest of moments when the shooter paused to re-load, James Shaw Jr. leaped up, grabbed the rifle and threw it away causing the shooter to flee. James Shaw Jr.’s courage and presence of mind saved the lives of the remaining patrons.
I am not a huge basketball fan but I admire the game’s ability to showcase heart and presence of mind. In the last twelve seconds of the Cleveland Cavaliers play-off game against the Pacers this week, LeBron James made a crucial mistake: the game was tied 95-95 and, as he approached the basket, he lost control of the ball, giving the Pacers possession. All the Pacers had to do was control the clock and score once to win the game and go up 3-2 in the series. However, LeBron shook off his mortification for “giving the game away” by blocking the Pacers’ winning shot, regaining possession of the ball, and then sinking an impossibly distant three pointer in the dying second of the game to win. After the match he told reporters that in those last seconds he wanted the ball, he wanted to take that shot. He defined himself in that moment.
There was an incident of bullying this week at our School. It so happened that a bystander, seeing what was going on, made an effort to stop the bullying. In that moment, by stepping up and doing what was right this student defined himself as a young man of courage and heart and presence of mind.
The Reverend Curry reminded us in Chapel this week that the root word for courage is “cor”. This is the Latin word for “heart”. Another word for courage is fortitude, the Latin root for which is “strength”. We admire those with heart and strength because they have the courage to do what is right, to do what the moment requires. I believe courage is learned and hope, as our students progress through school and life, that they acquire the awareness of what each moment requires and the heart to act.