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Courage In The Face of Adversity

By Sean C. Bowers

Recently I was exposed to the toxic effects of long-term negativity reinforced over time, in the form of crippling self-doubt. Involved was a group of young people, some with disciplinary problems, some considered “dangers” to themselves,s and an assortment of others were reflections of our societal input and stimuli.

When youth are pressured and repeatedly told (or shown) they are worthless, disposable and unimportant, they internalize those negative factors differently. Those cues are set by our (supposedly more) mature actions, tone of voice, words, and follow through. If we let a young person down enough times, on any or too many of these levels, we have a recipe for a hostile, angry, frustrated young person, trying to “find” themselves.

The ability for one to bounce back after failure is a learned trait. The ability to continue to try and give an effort is one’s natural survival instinct. When one is too afraid to try (for fear of failure) that is also a reinforced, taught and learned trait. Champions only become champions by being able to fail and get back up, again and again with a better effort than those who are uncommitted. One’s will is deep at the heart of the matter for each person. Our will is only self-reinforced through rigorous practice of repetitive execution of that which was once impossible. The more we will ourselves to get back up (and in the game) to try again, to never quit, to never give up or give in, we inch closer to the positive outcomes and desires to which we aspire.

Within each of us is a grand Divine Providence that each of us must honor and nurture. Our responsibility to ourselves and our younger family members is to always inspire their inner fire to continue to strive to be better and to try to go higher.

It is easy to speak negatively. The true challenge is to find the uplifting positive thing to say, do and become. Drips of love and kindness are the best tools to combat the cryptic blend of negativity. We can choose – not to be negative.

The youths who don’t know how to try because they are too afraid to try, cannot enter the King and Queen-doms of manhood and womanhood until they master this lesson. As adults we must share with them how we, in our youth, failed along the way to reaching our successes in adulthood.

No one has an easy life experience with no failures. Our failures are “corrections” in our self-projections of where we want to be, based on where we are now. Those kind words spoken to a young person in need, are ten times stronger and last a thousand times longer. Our youngsters need us to lead them so that they may one day lead themselves.

Take care to stop, look, listen to, and learn from these wise young people coming in our footsteps behind us. When we can’t look back from where we’ve come and hold our heads high, we know we’ve lost our way. Ours is to find that best path forward, upward and even upstream when need be, against the oppressive weighted currents of failure, racism, sexism, classism and persecution-religious or otherwise. Each of us makes those constant daily choices, “to be the noise” or “rejoice.”


Choosing to smile is a simple first-step choice. A smile best prepares the mouth to say something kind and spiritually nutritious. The mind’s thought processes reveal, the thoughtful state of a graceful mind or the opposite. We can knowingly choose to think, act and speak kindly, never blindly. Those learned traits grow stronger with repetition. They are fanned, fueled and buoyed by our own self-developed self-belief. Past failures turned to distant memories.

Each of us leaves our “mark” or impression on the world because we were here. Each of us chooses our word-weapons, our action air-support, our best most thoughtful deeded details by the steps we take ourselves and with each other. Others know who we are by the way we treat them.

Choosing to pass down the wisdom of the elders is a necessary and important learned and taught trait.  We must all be willing to try and be willing to give our best efforts, repeatedly. This in itself is an art form of continued courage in the face of extended adversity. Our ultimate destiny hangs in the balance.

Sean C. Bowers is a local progressive youth development coach, author and poet, who has written for the New Journal and Guide the last twenty years. His recent book of over 120 NJ&G articles detailing the issues is available at V1ZUAL1ZE@aol.com and he does do large scale solutions presentations.

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