Facing Fear with Courage

6, 7, 8

Learners reflect on the relationship between courage and fear, and identify the different character attributes that guide us when facing a challenge.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • state the relationship between fear and courage

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1954. ISBN: 0618002227


  1. Anticipatory Set

    If students have not read Lord of the Rings or seen the movie, give them a brief summary:

    Summary of Lord of the Rings: Frodo the hobbit takes on the responsibility of destroying the ring of power that threatens the existence of everything that is good in Middle Earth. The ring can only be destroyed in the volcanic Mount Doom where it was created by the evil leader Sauron. Frodo's journey takes him through many dangerous trials that he faces with great courage and determination. He has ultimate responsibility for destroying the ring, and the fate of Middle Earth rests on his small shoulders. Despite his size, Frodo has bravery and loyal companions on his side. One of his companions is Gandalf, a wizard, who is wise and good. In the following exchange, Frodo is overwhelmed by his responsibility and is afraid to face the dark ahead of him. He wishes the ring had never come to be his responsibility.

    Read this excerpt from "The Lord of the Rings" when Frodo tells Gandalf that he wishes he didn't have to go on this difficult journey.

    Frodo: "I wish none of this had happened."

    Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

    Discuss what this short exchange tells us about the hero, Frodo (he is afraid). Discuss the relationship between fear and courage.

  2. Have the learners write in their journals a reflection on Gandalf's words above. Tell them to include their thoughts about the following: What wisdom does Gandalf share about how to face difficult situations? What character traits (in addition to courage) will guide you in "such times"?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.