We can imagine that, like all parents, he told his daughter fairy tales. He read her books. He encouraged her when she doubted herself. He told her to stand up for others and for what’s right.
But obviously, it goes without saying, that the most impactful way that Daily Stoic podcast guest Lt. Col Alexander Vindman taught his daughter about courage was the same way his own immigrant father taught him: By example. By defying the president. By not being scared of the attacks from the craven and cowardly. By sitting in front of the camera and answering the hostile questions from self-aggrandizing senators. By continuing onward as a whistleblower, even though it cost him his job, his career and his quiet anonymous life.
You tell your kids that courage matters, that being brave is important. But have you shown them what it looks like to display those virtues? Have they ever actually seen their parents exhibit it? No one is saying you have to go toe to toe with the most powerful office in the world, but you do have to take some risks every once in a while. You do have to show them what it means to stand up, to speak up, to fight for something. You have to show them what endurance and determination look like. You have to show them that courage isn’t just something from stories, that real people have it and show it in real life.
Show them that you have it too. This is the only way you can teach them to show it themselves.
P.S. The aim of Ryan Holiday’s book, Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors The Brave, is to teach you how to conquer fear, how to model bravery. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Courage is Calling —we also have signed copies available over in the Daily Stoic store. And do listen to the full episode with the courageous Lt. Col Alexander Vindman.