Courage can help us get through the fears of the coronavirus challenge
I want to thank everyone who provided so many great comments and positive feedback regarding last week’s article on the important role that accountability plays in our preservation of freedom.
As we continue to march through this challenge before us, and I continue to have contacts with people of all ages in my capacity as sheriff, something really struck me — the real sense of fear and anxiety that is hanging over our community as we struggle to find balance between caution and re-engaging as family, friends, businesses and places of worship.
As I stated last week, we must base our decisions and actions on the best information and data we can find. We all have an obligation to each other, and I think the fact that our numbers of active cases here in Kewaunee County have remained so low is a true testament to our sense of reason and care for one another.
Having said that, we will be finding ourselves at a time when we do have to move forward. This will require careful planning, thoughtful considerations and, most of all, courage.
This word, courage, is usually applied to acts of heroism relating to our military or emergency services, but I would submit that it also applies to this challenge and the transition we must all embark upon.
The definition of "courage" is “Strength in the face of pain or grief” as well as “The ability to do something that frightens oneself." I can’t think of a better time to summon the strength of courage than now.
Courage does not mean that you disregard prudence or place yourself or others in jeopardy through reckless action. Rather, it means you move forward past the fear, knowing both the risks and the benefits of your actions.
There are countless examples of such courage in our nation’s history. I think of the patriots who had to fight fear each and every day as they made the decision to start a new country against a global super power.
I think of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who had to make that fateful call to send troops across the channel on D-Day knowing the odds were against them.
Even in our own communities we have those who exhibit great courage each and every day. The farmer who has the courage to plant in the spring even though the potential for crop failure is ever present.
The teacher who stands before a new room of students, hoping they can make a difference in the young lives seated before them.
The entrepreneurs who roll the dice to start a business, hoping that their passion can bring goods or services to those who need them, knowing each and every customer is the key to their survival.
It is this type of courage we must employ to get back to what we were meant to do — live fulfilling lives. We must again walk out into the world each and every day with a smile on our faces knowing the risks, but conquering our fears.
It is fitting that we as Wisconsinites embrace the philosophy of moving forward from this challenge with courage and intrepidness. After all, “Forward!” is our state motto.
If you get the time to look it up, the meaning of this motto reflects the optimistic character and beliefs of the citizens of the state and their hopes for the future. We have an opportunity to be an example to other states and live the ultimate example of leadership, which is to “lead from the front.”
We have a great deal to be optimistic about, but we must first conquer our fear and embrace the next chapter of this challenge. It will be through courage fueled by optimism that we will once again shake hands with our neighbors, worship with our congregations and, most importantly, be an example to our children of what overcoming a challenge looks like.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Courage can help us get through the fears of the coronavirus challenge