What is the Initiative Movement (I-M)?
The simple explanation of initiative was told to me by my father, when I was about fourteen years old. He said why don’t you take the initiative and make some money. He said it won’t kill you to work hard to put a few bucks in your pocket. So I followed his advice. I took our family’s lawn mower and a gas can and went down the street in our neighborhood looking for lawns I could cut… and make money!
I found a yard with high grass and weeds everywhere. I walked up to the door and knocked. An old lady answered the door and I asked if I could cut her grass. Surprisingly, she said yes. Well it was a hot day, I was sweating and it took me awhile to cut through the thick, high lawn. It was near dusk and she invited me in for a drink of cool lemonade. I explained that I was taking the initiative by working to save money so I could buy a new bicycle. She smiled and nodded, and told me she was a retired school teacher, and her name was Ethel. She then asked me if I knew what the word initiative meant? I said yes, and told her. She smiled and asked if she could tell me a story. I said she could, and she poured me another glass of lemonade. Then she told me she had taken care of her mother when she retired many years ago. She said she took care of her for fourteen years until she passed away. I asked if this was her house, and she said “yes.” Quickly, I answered, “So you got a house for taking care of her.?” She smiled and said, “No I bought the house when she died.” So why’d you do it, I thought, looking at her. She pleasantly saw my confusion, and said, “I too took the initiative.” Her teacher skills started to focus her next response. “Karl, initiative has many definitions, but when I grew up, we were told, ” ‘Taking The Initiative’ was doing what’s right even if there is no reward. ” Yeah, I cut her grass for free the rest of the summer.
It bothers me when someone confuses the word “privileged” with “initiative”. Privilege is something regarded as a rare opportunity. One who is privileged has a special advantage. A privileged person is one accustomed to “special rights” and opportunities or very costly possessions acquired by family wealth. Certain pleasures are exclusive to the privileged. The privileged are granted immunity where others are subjected to legal rules or penalties. The privileged are said to be favored, fortunate, lucky, golden, and blessed. Why? Because of their namesake, their wealth and their families position in life. This allows the privileged to be protected, exempt, shielded, immune, and secure from the environment where everyone who isn’t privileged must live.
Privilege is never defined by race, only by stature as entitled, empowered, allowed, approved and permitted, where everyone else is measured by skills, INITIATIVE, drive, survival, ability, strength, usefulness, helpfulness, courageousness, stability, honorability, and energy…just to name a few.
Being a product of the “Greatest Generation”, (look it up) we wore hand me down clothes, maybe had one house phone, no computers-didn’t exist. Usually one car, or no car and took the bus to work and school. We had a black and white television, with three stations. We were proud to be Americans. We lived life to the fullest. We were raised with strong work ethics. Our parents, our communities and our teachers instilled in us virtues. They taught us good morals, good manners, and a drive to succeed. We made the best of what we were dealt, and continued to build on what we had or achieved or failed at. We set higher goals, sometime what seemed like unattainable dreams. We never strived to become privileged. We strived for a purpose, a dream, an opportunity, to be able to live within our means, without credit, and to be the best at what we did.
When I hear someone call me a “white privileged” man, I hear or think of an oxymoron attack. From Wikipedia: “An oxymoron is a rhetorical slur (device) that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox.” Paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition leading to a conclusion that is unacceptable, senseless and untrue. This definition and label caused me reflect on my life. I don’t get mad at ignorant people. I don’t argue with them. I also don’t try to explain the truth, because it comes down to a culture based on “23 words” posted on their twitter feed. I can’t tell you how to fry an egg in twenty three words. We are living in the “Worst Generation”. Cancel Culture, hate, openly racist attacks, anarchy, mockery and divisive agendas on religions, elderly, political parties, lifestyles, races, military, border security, crime and punishment, law and order, foods, genders: men and women, abortion, the environment, climate, and much more…
I realized it was time to counter this culture and start a positive movement. The Initiative Movement is about sharing what worked. For example, when Dr. Ben Carson’s mom took the initiative to have her son read and then tell her what he read. This simple act pushed Dr. Carson to learn and to continue to follow his dream. His initiative caused him to become the man he is today. My goal for this website is to have a place for people to share their positive experiences — how other people or circumstances may have influenced them to change their life story. I want this site to be a place of hope and community. This is a place for every person whose success came because they took the INITIATIVE, but also because they may have learned from someone, some story or some opportunity.
Please join our community and share your story in the comments.