Honoring the Courageous

The COVID-19 situation has called for acts of courage on the part of many people. I say called for because people who act from courage often feel compelled by their principles to act as they do. Experts on courage say that one of the several ways to become more courageous ourselves is by learning about people who have done courageous things.

It took a whistle blower to make COVID-19 public. For informing his colleagues about the emergence of the virus, Dr Li Wenliang was detained by the Chinese police on the charge of “seriously disrupting the social order.” A week later, he exhibited symptoms and described online what was happening so other medical professionals would learn from it. He died soon after.

Medical professionals all over the world are courageously risking their lives to care for those infected. While they are doing what they were trained and committed to do, they do not have the supplies needed to follow standard safety protocols to keep themselves safe. It takes courage, not just knowledge and skill, to do what they are doing for us.

Public servants are acting courageously to make decisions that disrupt the lives of all of us, cost people their jobs and harm businesses and the economy at large. Every day, they make costly decisions with no guarantee those decisions will even be effective.

People providing essential services to us, such as food delivery, are taking considerable risk as well. We can honor them for their courage and dedication and consider how to make things better for them. A long-haul trucker was interviewed on the news recently and begged us to not hoard food, since doing so makes her life harder.

Gratitude, yes. But the point here is also to strengthen courage within ourselves to be willing to make personal sacrifices and take personal risks on behalf of others.