February 4, 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks, often called the First Lady of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. A petite woman, Mrs. Parks stood tall when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. In honor of this event, the Henry Ford Museum, which houses the bus in which the confrontation occurred, has declared a National Day of Courage.
This day provides all of us, and students in particular, a chance to consider what we have the courage to do. It is a day to imagine, “What if?” What if I said something when my friends make racist remarks? What if I told the truth about a mistake I’d make? What if Ibefriended an unpopular student? What if I stood up to a bully–or helped him find a friend?
The museum has a Day of Courage website including information on Rosa Parks and activities on February 4. It features a badge saying, “I have the courage to….” that can be completed and worn on February 4. Downloading and completing those badges would make a wonderful class or family activity. If you live too far away to participate in other activities at the Henry Ford museum, think about how you could celebrate courage in your area. Who are the courageous heroes in your area, or in your life? Consider a few of these ideas.
- Create a web describing as many kinds of courage as you can. How are they similar or different from one other?
- Compare the courage of superhero characters to real-world examples of courage. That could make an interesting Venn Diagram.
- Rosa Parks is a hero of the Civil Rights movement. What examples of courageous heroes appear in your local history, or the history of your culture? Plan an activity to honor one of them.
- Write a letter to a real-world hero, someone whose courage you admire. Take this opportunity to say thanks.
- Create a work of art, music, or dance that represents courage.
- Do something courageous on February 4–or March 4, or any other day. Imagine yourself more courageous, then be that person, if just for a day. You might like it.