Guest Column: Courage

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

I was once reminded that courage comes from the heart, and to never lose the heart to do what is right. As I pondered this, I realized that the heart has throughout the ages been associated with the place where feelings, one’s spirit, and confidence comes from. To have courage is to have the greatness of spirit in facing danger, difficult situations, or simply doing what is right for the right reason.

One of the biggest mistakes people make concerning courage is thinking that having courage means someone is not afraid. Fear and courage are truly brothers. You cannot have one without the other. True courage is being afraid and finding the strength of heart to overcome one’s fear and carrying on against whatever difficulties you are facing. Courage means having the ability to control one’s fear in dangerous situations. One of my favorite sayings concerning courage is: “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne.

In my life I have found it is when we make mistakes or fail that we need courage the most. It takes great courage to admit our mistakes or to continue trying when we fail. There are two quotes that I have on my desk concerning mistakes and failure:
• “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” Bruce Lee
• “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

It takes great courage to admit that we may have been wrong or that we may have done something wrong. The biggest mistake I have seen people make is not taking responsibility for their mistakes or wrongdoings. They tend to make excuses or even lie about what they have done. The mistake or wrongdoing then becomes even bigger. If we have the courage to admit our mistakes we have done, we will have the ability to learn from those mistakes and commit not to do them again. Life at times is about making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and not letting those mistakes define who we are or who we will become. The reason most people do not admit their mistakes is that they are afraid of what people might say about them or they are afraid of facing the consequences of doing something wrong. Having the courage to admit our mistakes or the things we have done wrong gives us the chance to make things right. Courage gives us the chance to learn from our mistakes and become a better person.

Where does courage come from? Maya Angelou once said, “One isn’t necessarily born with
courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” While we may not have been born with courage, we can develop it by overcoming our fears and doing the hard things. We can overcome our fear of math and become an astronaut or overcome our fear of public speaking and become a teacher. Whatever you decided to do in life, at some point you will find yourself faced with difficult choices, choices that may not be popular. Having to make the choice between doing what is right or that which is popular is at times very hard because we fear what people will say or we know we will make people mad at us. I have found it is always better to do the right thing for the right reason no matter the cost. That way I will not have to find the courage to look myself in the mirror if I didn’t have the courage to do what is right. The mark of a good person is one that has the courage to do the right thing no matter the personal cost. I hope we will all have the courage to be kind, true, merciful, generous, and honest.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich was appointed as Sheriff of Spokane County on April 11, 2006. He was elected to the Office of Sheriff in the fall of 2006 and is currently serving his third term as our Sheriff. This year marks his 28th year in the Law Enforcement Profession. Sheriff Knezovich has been a long- time advocate for PACE (Partners Advancing Character Education) and wholeheartedly supports their endeavors.