Story Pirates is an organization that believes every kid is a genius. I was introduced to them in 2018 and we even featured them in a Service Spotlight on this blog. They’re an incredible group of artists, actors, and creators who are dedicated to encouraging writing in students. They have a blog, a podcast, several books, and really engaging volunteer opportunities, one of which is called Story Love.
When you attend a Story Love event you are given a stack of stories written by children—and, if it’s an in-person event, some pizza. After reading a story about a talking piece of toast or a snowboarding octopus, you write the student a note. Yes, every student that sends a story to the Story Pirates receives a note from a Pirate in return.
I was doing a virtual Story Love event back in June and I came across a line that really struck me: “But they didn’t go away because they wanted to get braver by staying.”
I’ve had this line in an unread email on my computer for two and a half months now, but when I opened it tonight, it hit me with a raw newness. They were scared. But they stayed anyway.
At this point, I don’t remember the context of the story, the age of its author, or what happened after this moment. All I remember is the act of being scared and choosing to stay.
Two years ago, I experienced the scariest event of my life. In the moment, and for weeks after, I was absolutely frozen in fear and shock and horror. Not only did I not feel braver, I didn’t feel brave at all.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? We don’t always feel brave when we’re scared. In fact, most of the time, we feel miserable and uncomfortable and sick to our stomachs. It’s only with a little time and space and distance that we can recognize how these moments contributed to our own resilience… our own strength… our own bravery.
They didn’t go away because they wanted to get braver by staying.
Consider staying. Even when it feels like garbage. Even when you are terrified. Even when you don’t know what will happen next. Give yourself the chance to get braver.
Give yourself the chance to get better.