Character Chats

What is initiative?

Our True Character word of the month this month is initiative.

Initiative means “I’m a self-starter.” It means doing things without being told.

Let’s take a look at what it means to have initiative, and how we explain it to our kids…

Do it without being told

Initiative is when you see something and you take care of it before anybody tells you to do it. It is being a self-starter, getting there and doing it without being told.

There are some things that we look for when we’re looking for initiative.

Kids, if we see a mess, we can clean it up without mom and dad telling us to do it. That’s a way of showing our initiative, right?

If we’re done with dinner, we can clear our plates, put them in the sink.

We know what we’re supposed to do before we go to bed: brush our teeth, get our pajamas on. We can do that without being told.

We can do our homework. We can do our schoolwork. We can go on our zoom calls without being told. There are a lot of things that we can do without being told.

Being ready for more responsibilities

There are many reasons for kids to start showing initiative.

One of the ways we like to explain it is to let them know it’s how they show they’re ready for more responsibilities.

So, when I’m talking to a kid about initiative, I always tell them, “Look, as you’re growing up you’re going to want to do more things. You’re going to want to have more freedom. And the way you prove to mom and dad that you can do more things is by showing your initiative.”

For example, when my son wanted to ride his bike down the street to his friend’s house alone, I told him, “In order to prove you can be trusted to do that, you have to show initiative at home. If you don’t notice the plate sitting next to the sink that needs to be put away, how can I trust that you’re going to notice a car when you get to the corner?”

Doing things without being told is how you prove to mom and dad that you’re ready for some more responsibility.

We should always be looking for things that we can do in order to show initiative around the house.

And we will see everybody on the mat.
-Master Helsdon