You know, it is unfortunate and horrible when a child is ill. It is unfortunate and horrible when anyone is ill. But why oh why are all sick children always ‘brave’? Brave: Having or displaying courage, resolution, or daring; not cowardly or timid. You act bravely or you act cowardly. Bravery is not bravery unless there is the option available to be cowardly – there’s an element of choice. A child who has had some awful illness resulting in numerous operations and perhaps the removal of a limb or two, doesn’t really have very much choice in the matter, and probably doesn’t have much of a clue about what is going on anyway. The doctor doesn’t go to the child and say, “Well, that leg is going to have to come off,” and the child doesn’t reply, “Go ahead doctor, I’ll hold the tourniquet and bite on this stick while you saw.” This perpetual pathetic misuse of the word ‘brave’ devalues it (just like the use of the word ‘hero’ to describe a football player). Now, perhaps the mother and father will be able to say that their child has displayed courage throughout the trauma, and maybe that will be true despite the usual parental bias. Perhaps the hospital staff will have some say in this. But am I cynical in assuming that in our ‘inclusive equality-driven society’ that the kid who goes screaming and whining to the hospital is going to get the same ‘bravery’ award as the one who showed resolution and courage?