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Nat'l Grange Pres: Recognize, Celebrate a Great Trait: Courage

By Edward Luttrell - New Grange July/August 2011

  AUGUST 11, 2011 --

We have all seen members who have achieved great things, spearheaded major projects, and revitalized their Grange. The one trait that they all share is courage.

Courage is exhibited in a number of ways. Trying new things, accepting new challenges, standing up for your opinions, and making sacrifices all are ways that Grange members demonstrate their courage.

Taking on a new project, attending State Grange Session for the first time, showing up for a conference, or even talking to a potential member can take courage. Those members who step outside their comfort zone and do something that is new, and often uncomfortable, demonstrate their bravery. An interesting fact is that once you step outside your comfort zone, it grows to catch up and allows you to again show your nerve by stepping outside it repeatedly.

Being elected to an office, accepting an appointment to a committee, or even entering a contest is another form of courage. Members who accept the responsibility of leadership show their valor by their willingness to be accountable to others. Being a leader is often scary because others look to you to set the example. You may be blamed for mistakes but leaders understand that only those who do nothing make no errors.

When members stand up and voice their concerns, their support or opposition to proposed ideas, or share their dreams with other members, they display their daring. Engaging in debate always entails risk. You may misspeak or even be wrong, but the cost of silence is paid when you are right and fail to speak up.

Grange members are among the most giving and generous people I know. Yet we often fail to recognize the courage that our members exhibit regularly. Members give of their money and resources without question. Thousands of young members over the years have benefited from the generosity of members in financial support of the Youth program. Granges have had donations of money and materials that built thousands of halls. Even more importantly, the personal time that our members give to our organization show the sacrifice that they look forward to giving.

We often recognize those who show their courage in spectacular ways. Soldiers, firemen, and police officers are examples of those who we look up to for their courageous actions. I think we should also look at the little exhibitions of courage that our members reveal on a daily basis.

Every Grange member and every Grange leader should try something new regularly. Make it a mission to step outside your comfort zone often. Accept a new challenge at least once a year, whether you commit to a new role in leadership or recommit to being a better leader in the role you currently have. Attend your Pomona or State Grange and speak to one issue that you’re passionate about, even if your voice shakes. The sacrifices that each member makes also deserve recognition and we should emulate those who give of their time, money, and resources to make others better and to build our organization.

Courage is all around us. Let us recognize it, celebrate it, and use it in our daily lives.

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