Initiative In School
Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it
To practice Initiative I will:
- contribute to the success of the whole team
- be part of the solution rather than the problem
- do what is right before being asked
- look for ways to help others
- not procrastinate
– Bill Croskey
There is a real Yin and Yang aspect to the Qualities. With this month’s Character Quality of Initiative (recognizing and doing what needs to be done without being asked) we see a counterpoint to Patience (accepting difficulties without rushing toward deadlines to remove them).
Walking this Patience/Initiative tightrope in a balanced, Good Character manner can be tough. Should I respond to a problem with “Slow and steady wins the race?” Should I, instead, follow Nike’s advice and “Just do it?” Should I wait out a challenge by reminding myself, “This too will pass?” Or should I charge ahead knowing the “The early bird gets the worm?” Maybe I should live my life by some hybrids: “Good things come to him who CHARGES AHEAD!” “Strike while the iron is COLD!” I don’t know about you, but I could wear out my brakes or strip some gears following these conflicting adages.
We can look for deeper understanding in this dilemma from the great philosopher Rogers. No, not Carl Rogers, the great therapist and educator. Rather, Kenny Rogers, the memorable singer-story teller. Kenny’s classic (actually the words were written by Don Schlitz), “The Gambler,” reminds us, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” Isn’t the wisdom to know when to act (Initiative) and when to wait (Patience) essential in life? Honestly, what we call luck is really more a matter of timing the Initiative-Patience cycle correctly. The “Gambler” lyrics add that “the secret to survivin’ is knowing what to throw away, knowing what to keep.” With cards, that may be another way of timing when to bet, when to fold, and when to check. But life may, in addition, actually require us to throw away that which serves us no good purpose and to keep that which preserves our integrity.