Courage in America: Interview Questions
I am grateful for suggestions from readers of the Character Building Project as they have added value to our study of courage. It is proving to be a more complex topic than I first anticipated. Because I recognize how probing the topic can be for young military men and women who have experienced war zones, I want to prepare thoroughly, to hone well the interview questions that will shape this project. I want them to be both empathetic and insightful.
Professor William Ian Miller’s excellent book, The Mystery of Courage is proving to be an excellent resource in my preparation for interviews. Here are some of the questions that I am considering thanks to the contributions of many, including those from Professor Miller:
Is true courage merely a description of valorous deeds rather than a trait of character?
Is there a defining trait for courage… a call to duty, honor, glory, and peer- pressure, fearof disgrace, shame, fellowship of comrades?
Does true courage mean possessing a fearless character, which is inherited, or is it merelya hard-wired but cultivated good habit?
Is courage more about skill and experience or more about pride and fear of disgrace?
Is there a fine line between the virtue of courage and cowardice, its corresponding vice?
Is there a difference between doing one’s duty and going beyond the call of duty?
Is courage an exhaustible resource?
Is uncommon valor still a common virtue in today’s military?
Are there techniques for instilling courage?
In seeking answers to these questions, I have begun contemplating numerous types of courage. For example, there is the:
Courage of showing endurance
Courage of unleashing energy appropriately
Courage of tempered aggression
Courage of magnanimity
Politics of courage
Psychology of courage
Legacy of courage
Hopefully, our study of courageous heroes in the armed forces will yield lessons learned that may well apply also in corporate, political, educational or medical careers. By celebrating the virtue of courage among our country’s military, we may learn and apply much from their honor system to adversity faced in civilian life .