This month we will focus on the powerful word; “initiative.”
Initiative is the energetic, forward-moving purposeful action someone takes without the need of prompting or reminding. A person with initiative is a self-starter and goes after goals and get jobs done with admirable self-reliance.
In 1916, Dorothy Fisher wrote “Self Reliance,” a manuscript that focuses on children and the importance of developing initiative. She warns; “From the earliest years, modern children need to be set in conditions in which they may learn for themselves that lasting satisfaction comes from a wise employment of their own energies and capacities, and not from a passive ownership of things.” Her words still hold true today-- one hundred years later.
Our children must establish habits and see the true benefits of “energetic purposeful action,” as Miss Fisher calls it, instead of waiting for others to complete tasks for them.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Psychology suggests that a single, strong friendship in the lives of both boys and girls can positively contribute to a child’s resilience. That is; self-reliance, a balanced perspective on life, and the ability to make meaning from difficult circumstances. The researchers found that children’s best friendships facilitated effective ways of coping that helped them develop resilience when faced with complex challenges (June 2015).
We can glean from this study that encouraging our children to cultivate a strong friendship with another child is one action we can take to help our children develop resilience, initiative and self-reliance.