Nisa Permatasari 12 Desember 2010
Another writing. I’m reading this Book my pretty friend Dona gave me: Meditations for the Humanist by A.C Grayling. There is this chapter about courage. I remember all Pengajar Muda when i was reading it. So i thought i would write that chapter for them. Courage is a kind of salvation – Plato ....... Most people tend to think of courage as a warrior virtue, as belonging typically to battle, and therefore, by analogy or endeavour on the upper slopes of Everest, in the deeps of the sea, and even on the sports field – in other words, whenever endurance, grit and determination in the face of physical challenges are required. That is true enough. But courage is often demonstrated, because it is often needed, in greater quantities in daily life; and there are even times when “merely to live”, as Seneca put it ini a letter to Lucilius, “is itself an act of courage”. Ordinary life evokes more extraordinary courage than combat or adventure because both the chances and inevitabilites of life – grief, illness, disappointment, pain, struggle, poverty, loss, terror, heartache: all of them commons features of the human condition, and all of them experienced by hundreds of thousand of people every day – demand kind of endurances and bravery that make clambering up Everest seem an easier alternative. ......To lie sleepless with pain at night, or to wake every morning and feel the return of grief, yet to get up and carry on as best as one can, is courage itself. Moreover, courage can only be felt by those who are afraid. If a man is truly fearless as he leaps over the enemy parapet or hurls himself into a rugby tackle, he is not courageous. Because most people fail to recognise this simple fact, the true quantum of heroism in the world goes unrecognised and therefore unrewarded. The quacking public speaker, the trembling amateur actor, the nervous hospital patient submitting himself to needles and scalpels, are all manifesting courage. ....... Altough ordinary life demands courage, sometimes in exceptional amounts, there is yet another kind of courage required for the task of being human: the courage to meet the new and to accept the different in the chances of experience. .......for even when the courage to do this is unostentatious and private, it can make a crucial difference to the content or the quality of our lives. So my dear Pengajar Muda, menjadi guru itu memang wajar ya. Menjadi guru itu biasa. Menjadi guru itu mulia? Maybe. But don’t we all share the same courage when we wake up every morning; in the events we stare at Labuang Bridge, hear the story of how our students are beaten by their teachers, see a room full of teachers chattering but not in class, agree to teach something we’re never familiar with. The same courage it is to take a deep breath before entering class and have the determination to make the day worthwhile. I, a lot of time, feel like i have no idea what I’m doing here. I get frustrated in class when a simple “How are you?” can’t get the right answer. In that case I would turn my back facing the board pretending to write something, anything, so that the class can’t see my frustration. And then another deep breath. And a smile. When I turn back, I try again. I carry day by day with that simple trick. Those seconds of facing the board are the time when I must gain my courage back. It’s new for me but now that I think about it, maybe that’s what all teachers do. Unrecognised and unrewarded. As cynic as I still am, I’m also a teacher now. I could care less of what is happening out there, outside my classrooom. I have my little monsters in front of me ready to test and take the best out of me; they would do that by telling me in their most amusing and silly ways that they like the class. And don’t I love to be amused. Oh kids, they’re so full of tricks.

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