1. an introductory act or step;
2. readiness and ability in initiating action;
3. one’s personal, responsible decision: to act on one’s own initiative.
It’s interesting to see the drastic differences between one child and another, even within the same family. How does one child possess initiative, and another has absolutely none?
This used to make me angry. Now, it makes me sad. Lacking initiative affects many areas of life, and can be a profound determining factor when being considered, or not considered, for a job.
This weekend was Senior Recognition at UCA. The seniors put on a fun and entertaining show last night at the Senior Talent Program. Our family “purchased” a table and enjoyed a meal during the show. They had a silent auction and I won the bid for a week at Camp MiVoden, something I was going to purchase anyway, so it made sense to have it benefit the senior class and support their efforts for raising money last night.
When the show was over, the gym had to be cleaned, and set up for Sunday’s activities, a whole afternoon of basketball. UCA was hosting a large Junior Varsity Basketball tournament, and the entire gym had to be set up and ready to go.
As I watched everyone get to work, I suddenly noticed my son looking lost and bewildered. He was alone in a crowd, so I went over to him, gave him a big hug, and stood there with him for a moment. There were kids circling all around him, tearing down chairs, loading them into carts, and wheeling them under the stage. He seemed to be frozen, not knowing what to do, so I suggested he work on the brown chairs, which needed to be taken upstairs in the gym. He happily complied and began working on the chairs. When I checked with him later, he said he hauled all the chairs upstairs himself. It was a tough job, but once someone pointed him in the right direction, he could follow through and get the job done.
Getting started seems to be what holds him back. I wondered why he couldn’t see what needed to be done on his own, why he had NO initiative. But it didn’t surprise me. This is the same child that can’t see a full trash can, even if he has to stumble over it. Still to this day, the trash doesn’t get taken out unless I give a gentle reminder. There is no initiative to see the job, and just DO IT!
I worry what this will mean for the future. Does initiative come with maturity? Does it come with experience? Does Aspergers block it? Can it be learned? I’ve learned to be more patient than I used to be regarding these types of issues. My frustration has become concern. My fear must be transformed into hope. I can only encourage and guide. That is my role now. I hope the day will come when he will see a job and know how to jump in and do it. And if that doesn’t happen, I hope he will be surrounded with people who will be willing to give him a push in the right direction.
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