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Some people believe that consciously and deliberately instilling faith in their children will make them unrealistic or unable to cope with “the real world.”

However, a recent study shows just the opposite.

Girls Leadership, a secular, Oakland, CA-based organization that helps girls K-12 to develop courage and skills in leadership, conducted a study about girls’ perceptions of bravery. They identified four archetypes of bravery, based on the qualities of confidence and compassion, openness to new experiences, and anxiety.

Avoiders (32% of girls in the study) have the least self-confidence and avoid conflict, new relationships, and unfamiliar experiences. They are “the least likely to come from families that regularly attend religious services or rate importance of religion highly.”

Comfort-Zoners (30%) have less anxiety than the avoiders, but they don’t like taking risks in relationships or new adventures. Typically, they get good grades and participate in activities, but don’t confront or challenge—themselves or others.

Strivers (17%), surprisingly rate high in anxiety but don’t let that hinder them from daunting tasks or new experiences and relationships. They battle their own fears and are ambitious.

Explorers (21%) are “well-rounded, secure, confident and successful girls” who build on previous successes and bounce back from setbacks. They are kind and sought-after as friends even though they express differing opinions, because they are seen as solid, dependable, and trustworthy.

And surprise!  The Explorers are most likely to come from families where religion is made a priority.

Though the study doesn’t specify exactly why there is the connection of religious faith with bravery, perhaps it is because the Bible depicts role models that are everything they are striving to be—brave leaders!

So how can you help your girl become more brave in good ways?

The study says that bravery takes four forms:

  • audacity (being brave in a dangerous situation),
  • ethical choices (doing “the right thing),
  • openness to new experiences (trying new things) and
  • authenticity (being true to oneself.)

I’d love to see some of you readers come up with some examples of each type of bravery from the Bible, and some suggestions about how this could be taught effectively to girls to help them be more brave.