Parenting takes courage. Growing up takes courage, too. But take heart because here’s a list of four of the best courage quotes you’ll find—and you can start using them today. These aren’t the typical courage quotes you’d turn into fridge magnets. They’re the real, tough, tried-and-true, too often forgotten phrases that will turn you from someone who’s mostly afraid of this whole parenting gig into a courageous leader. And they’ll teach your kids how to live a courageous life, too. So, when will you need to use these courage quotes? So, so much more often than you might even realize. Take, for example, this stressful scenario between Stephanie and her dad, Tom.
At 16, Stephanie knew that she didn’t want to go to a four-year university. She was creative, loved fashion and style, and decided that getting her cosmetology license at the Vo-Tech would be better for her disposition. But all she’d ever heard from her father was that he was going to be so proud when she was the first family member to ever graduate from college. He had high hopes for the degree she would earn.
One memorable night, Stephanie bravely told her dad she had made up her mind and had already applied for Vo-Tech. Tom lost his temper. “After all I’ve done to make the college dream happen for you! You are a huge disappointment!” Stephanie ran out of the room in tears, screaming “I hate you!” and slammed her bedroom door.
An hour later, Tom sat on the couch with his head in his hands as he listened to his daughter crying through the wall. Honestly, he didn’t know if university or cosmetology school would ultimately be the “right” thing for Stephanie. All he knew for sure is that he regretted how he handled that conversation. I wonder how many of us can relate. The truth, is over 90% of parents say that they regret how they handle the conversation with their teenager.
You know the one. The conversation about the one thing you can’t imagine your child ever telling you. The conversation is different for each family. It may be “I want to quit baseball,” or “I don’t know if I believe in God,” or “I failed the class,” or “I think I’m gay.” Perhaps your child needed to admit to a mistake they made. “I forgot to submit my college application and now I’ve missed the deadline,” or, “I got drunk,” or, “I went too far with my boyfriend.”
It takes a great deal of courage to lead kids into adulthood. It’s hard to let them fail or bear the consequences of their actions. It takes courage to listen calmly while they tell you they’ve made choices about their beliefs or lifestyle that don’t align with your values. The courage comes in when we ultimately choose to trust that God is in control. God leads us parents—and He leads our kids. And God can teach our kids through us (and vice versa) if we’ll be brave enough to stop trying to control every outcome and let Him lead!
We don’t need to back away from our beliefs, however we can courageously create an environment in which our child feels safe to come to us and share the hard thing, whatever it may be. We can’t be too afraid to let our kids make their own mistakes. And, we can’t be so afraid of making our own mistakes that we elevate being right over being real. It is through the realness of our conversations that our kids understand they can trust us to not judge them, condemn them, or try to fix them. If we can muster enough courage to let go of control and perfection, we’ll deepen the relationships we have with our kids. And as our kids get older, our influence with them is far more dependent on the strength of our relationship than it is on our role as parent.
How can we parents demonstrate courage as we navigate through these times? Like I said, sometimes it helps if you’ve got a bit of a script to work from. These courage quotes are some of the best around. No, they’re not poetic, eloquent word-wonders. But they’re real. And they’ll help your kid (and you) build courage.
Four of the Best Courage Quotes for Kids (and Parents!)
1. “Can you give me a minute? I have to process this.”
When our teenager sits down to share with us the thing that we hoped we’d never hear, we must have the courage to say, “Can you give me a minute? I have to process this.” Our child may have rehearsed this conversation over and over in their head, but it’s the first we’ve heard it. Much like Stephanie’s dad, our initial response may be anger, sadness, rage, confusion—all of which are real and need to be processed appropriately. Once we’ve had a chance to move past the early response, we should seek understanding as opposed to seeking to be understood. We should ask questions and listen to our child. Depending on the context of the conversation, this may not be the best time for them to hear all the reasons why their belief or decision is wrong. However, if your child mentions harming themselves or others, taking immediate measures to make sure they are safe is critical.
2. “I’m sorry. That stinks. I can’t help you with this one.”
At the appropriate age, when our child has forgotten the permission slip, left the science project on the kitchen counter, or neglected to turn in the money for the fundraiser, we must have the courage to say, “I’m sorry. That stinks. I can’t help you with this one.” We want to bail our kids out. We don’t want them to be embarrassed, get a bad grade, or miss the party. But more than those things, we want our kids to grow into healthy adults. It’s important that our kids feel the consequences of forgetfulness or irresponsibility. As adults, when we lock our keys in the car, forget to pay the light bill, miss a deadline at work, no one swoops in to rescue us. Learning how we will cope with mistakes or poor planning as teens is good for our development.
3. “What do you think you should do?”
Other times, our kids will be in a situation where they will need their own plan. Your daughter has a friend who has been cyberbullying someone. Your son has been invited to a party and he suspects there may be drinking going on. Your child wants to stop serving at church because a friend said it’s kind of dorky to serve at church. These are easy ones! We know the answer. But it takes courage to look at our developing teenager and say, “What do you think you should do?” Let them be the hero of their own story.
4. “I need help.”
Probably the most courageous thing we can say as a parent isn’t to our child at all. It’s to ourselves, and that is, “I need help.” We have a spiritual enemy. And he’s smart enough to know that taking our children out would be just about the worst thing he could do. They are a target, period. We must be courageous enough to realize we can’t do it alone. Be a part of a great lifegroup. Get connected to other parents who have kids about your kids’ age or maybe a little older. Seek wisdom from one another. Encourage each other and pray together. We all need that. And lean into the ministries and resources at Life.Church. LifeKids, Loop, Switch and Swerve (students serving) are great places to find other voices to speak truth into the life of your child. Take advantage of that.
Not too hard, right? Start using those courage quotes today. And check out these resources to help you further the conversation on courage with your kids.
Resources and Discussion Questions for Talking to Your Kid About Courage At Any Age
Here are some quick links to free resources about courage for your kids at each developmental level. You can also try these discussion starters to begin a conversation about what courage looks like in and out of the home.
For Your Preschoolers (Or Verbal Toddlers—It’s Never Too Early to Start!)
1. Start this Bible Plan together.
2. Go on the Bible Adventure called “The Brave and Beautiful Queen” together with your little ones. Each time they watch it, they’ll pick up new things.
3. As you work through this topic together, try asking some of these questions:
- What makes you feel afraid?
- What do you do when you feel afraid?
- If you feel afraid about something, what should you do?
For Your Elementary Kids
1. Start this Bible Plan about courage.
2. Watch the Konnect HQ episodes about courage with your child.
3. As you work through this topic together, use these questions as a jumping off place:
- What does courage mean?
- Talk about a time when people were doing the wrong thing and you needed courage to do the right thing.
- What are some things you can do to give you courage to keep doing what’s right?
For Your Preteens
1. Start this Bible Plan about courage with your preteen. If they have their own Bible App account, invite them to join you in a Plan with Friends.
2. Watch these great episodes of The Loop Show about courage.
3. As you work through this topic together, ask the questions below:
- Courage isn’t the absence of fear but doing what you’re afraid of even when you’re scared. Have you ever done something courageous–even while you were scared? What happened?
- How can you stand up for what you believe and still be respectful? Are there times when you don’t have to be respectful to stand up for what you believe?
- What habits can you start today to build your courage for tomorrow?
For Your Teenagers
1. Encourage your teen to start a Bible Plan with their friends. Here are a few plans they could try: Fight Fear, Stand: Courage From The Book Of Daniel, and Live Fearless With Sadie Robertson.
2. Ask your teen if they’ve seen the Switch episodes about courage.
3. Living a life of courage takes, well, courage! Talk to your teen about ways they can show courage and areas of their life where they’d like to develop some courage. Try asking the questions below:
- Who is the most courageous person you know personally? Why do you think they’re courageous, and what challenges you about them?
- Share about a decision you made that you’re really proud of yourself for having the courage to make.
- What’s one specific way you can choose to be courageous this coming week?