West Plains Guest Column: Courage

Mayah Eberhardt

Mayah Eberhardt, Medical Lake High School

Courage is having the strength to persevere even when times are tough. Being bold despite what others may think or say, courage is a trait that brings new opportunities for change every single day. I am Mayah Eberhardt, quiet in beginning of new situations and friendships but exuberant once time has passed. I am your average high school student who has a passion for running and I love to make people smile. I am another imperfect teenager who loves her family, friends, and puts her faith in the Lord. I am a human and being human, we all can all relate to how rough things can get sometimes.

There are times when I feel like I am afraid to try new things and I’m doubtful when challenges turn up. I will admit that instead of focusing on the positive side of the situation, I fear a possible negative outcome.  Sometimes, confidence is not my default disposition. I wonder what people will think or say, or how they will react, and it makes me want to back down from taking a chance. For example, (and one that many can relate to), it is difficult for me to ask a question in a class full of people because I wonder: “what if I’m the only one who doesn’t get it? I don’t want people to think I’m not smart.” I have learned by stepping out of my comfort zone that more times than we realize, the people around you are wondering the same thing as you. Being bold, doesn’t just help you out, but it can influence the people around you and it can also help the teacher understand more about how the information being taught is received. Little acts of courage can help everyone.

Back during my sophomore year, my track coach had to adjust relay positions for the new season, and I was so afraid of being placed in the starting leg because it was something I’d never done before. I was not too excited when I ultimately got put in the starting leg, and again self-doubt started sinking in:

“What if I leave the baton at the start when the gun goes off?” That would disappoint my team.”

What if I am in lane one and I can’t run fast enough to catch anyone?”

“What if I mess up the handoff?”

All these questions were running through my head, and what do they all have in common? They were all fear based and negative “what ifs.” However, I went out and ran the relay and NONE of those things happened. It was easier than I ever thought. Challenges like these have taught me how to push through difficult circumstances. It is in moments like these that I have developed courage.  Not only was it a successful relay, it gave me more experience in demonstrating personal bravery and how to defeat negativity. The relay is an example of other challenges that we face in life.

Nelson Mandela said, “that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”  It can be hard to be bigger than your situation, but someone in the world needs your courage. Right now, in society a lot is going on. I want to encourage you to be bold in the face of all that is negative. Have the courage to talk about goodness even as the despair of COVID-19 surrounds us.  Your courage to be positive when it is so easy to be negative can shift how people are coping with the pandemic and it can inspire others to have a courageous mindset.  We are also seeing a lot of racial unrest. It is certainly uncomfortable to talk about, but courage can lead the conversation. There is a lot of hate in the world. I encourage you to talk about it, listen to other perspectives, and then after you talk about, DO something about it, no matter who is watching, listening, or even opposing you. Take a stand against hate. We are all humans. Be strong and courageous. Never talk yourself out of something that you know you can do.

Mayah Eberhardt is a senior at Medical Lake High School.  She was a their 2020 West Plains PACE Award recipient.  She is active in her school and community and Medical Lake High School Principal, Justin Blayne has this to say about Mayah. “Mayah is kind, intelligent, positive, friendly, energetic and talented. Her presence and contributions to our school community make MLHS a better place for all Cardinals!”


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