This year our REAL topic has been courage. Courage is a very important and difficult virtue to maintain within our lives. Courage is not just limited to the typical “go into a battlefield and fight”. Rather, there are many other types of courage that are present in our daily lives, and it is important to recognise these opportunities so that we may be able to handle these situations. This is just one of the many important things that our guest speaker, Tom Langrell, a former Redfield student, came to tell on Tuesday 1st May. Tom described his experiences of courage and how he has tried to show and gain courage throughout his life. Through Tom’s recounts we were able to learn that courage is more than just doing something new or not being scared of something, it’s about conquering your fears. He quoted Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

Some of his anecdotes included one of his early years at Uni, in which his class was engaged in a discussion about abortion and the whole class was in support of it, and the lecturer was quite overwhelmed. Tom described to us that he did not agree with the class, but he did not have the courage to stand up for his opinion out of fear that he would be shut down by other. At one point he decided that he would just take a wild shot, and he voiced his stance on the dignity of all human life to the class. Amazingly, at first people objected but suddenly some people stood up and supported his arguments, and soon it seemed like the majority of the class actually agreed with him. This just goes to show that sometimes the most courageous thing you can do is simply to stand up for your beliefs. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park for him to get up there and tell the class what he thought, but, he showed moral courage and discovered that even one voice saying ‘no’ is enough to get other onboard. We all realised that if one person showing courage could have so much power, what extent of power would we have if everyone were to be a bit courageous?

Another anecdote he shared was when he went to Calcutta to work in the Sisters of Charity. He helped some severely poor men living there who were dying. Most of these people had never been cared for, and it took Tom a lot of courage to be able to face these people. Being so lucky ourselves, we often don’t realise how much people are suffering around the world. Tom got to experience courage by pushing himself to look at these suffering people and help them. Tom not only recounted some of his personal experiences, but he also gave us some prime example of young women who have shown courage in some very dire and dangerous situation, and are now successful.

All these recounts and examples that Tom told us were truly an inspiration for us. He was very honest, and truthful in his words, and this made it even clearer that courage is not just defined to specific acts, rather we can all live courage in our own way. Overall, we really enjoyed the talked and found it helped us to want to strive for courage. We thank Tom very much for coming and sharing so much knowledge with us.

By Stephanie Pratikna 9R and Simoni Shirwadkar 9N