Sometimes it takes courage to encourage

Metal grating used as a bridge deck, or tread for a sloped ramp scares Sophie

Metal grating used as a bridge deck, or tread for a sloped ramp scares Sophie. Always has, I think, because her first exposure to it was on the bridge over Holland Creek, down toward the Trans Canada Highway. It unnerved her, being on a deck you could see through into the gully below.

So when she and I were nearing the end of a holiday hike, heading toward the parking lot of the Crofton board walk, she did her usual routine, when she encountered a mesh tread at the end of the outing.

At first she refused to go any further, approaching then backing off repeatedly; but gradually she responded to words of encouragement, then scuttled across like a cat on a freshly zambonied ice rink.

A boy and his mum, sitting on the bench in the little entrance shelter, laughed kindly at Sophie’s angst. There was nothing mean spirited in their laughter, rather they were amused and sympathetic that such a seemingly insignificant obstacle could frighten a large-ish dog.

I laughed, too, as I’d done before.

But as I continued on to the car, it occurred to me we had all missed a ‘teachable moment,’ where a best friend overcame an obstacle, which for her seemed insurmountable.

Scrolling back through the sequence I realized that Sophie first had to check the panic that was urging her to pull away and run from the thing that scared her. Then she had to listen to reason and encouragement, to edge toward it. Then she had to trust the voice that was coaxing her on. Finally, she had to summon her courage and cross-over.

We tend to think of bravery in military terms. But it doesn’t detract from the honour role of battle to recognize and celebrate other forms of courage: a shy child mustering the courage to speak her mind; a bird – or any species subject to predation – taking flight; a youngster with a disability taking his place in a classroom.

In so many cases the sequence of confronting our fears; listening to reason; trusting; and overcoming is what sets us free. The tragedy is that as often as not, people who could achieve wonderful things in their lives are mocked when what they need most is our encouragement.

Craig Spence, Editor

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: World-renowned urban planner encourages Cowichan Valley to ‘benchmark with the best’

CVRD welcomes Gil Penalosa, founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, as part of Place-Making Speaker Series

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP member poses as construction worker to catch distracted motorists

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are taking action on distract driving this year and… Continue reading

VIU’s Cowichan campus promotes mental health awareness with new bench

Friendship Benchs visible at schools across the country

Save-On free $25 gift cards can go to Ladysmith Food Bank

Save-On-Foods is offering a $25 dollar reward to customers that they can… Continue reading

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

UPDATE: City of Nanaimo senior manager dismissed

Chief operations officer Brad McRae no longer employed by the city

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read