Adults contribute to the development of children’s sense of initiative in several ways. Adults are responsible for setting up the environments for children’s play and making sure it is safe for everybody in it. The Advocacy in Action feature “A Son

Sometimes children need to get away by themselves; semi- enclosed private spaces where children can continue to be supervised are an important element to a balanced play environment

Compliments His Mother’s Advocacy Work” (in a feature box later in this chapter) tells the story of a mother who en- abled her son to take advan- tage of the environment by advocating for his very special need. This story is told by the son, who is now grown up.

As stated, the kind of en- vironment that adults set up determines to some extent whether initiative is a value. Adults are the ones who must guide and control children’s behavior in these environ- ments. How they do that also contributes to a sense of ini- tiative. Guidance methods that encourage children to continue to explore, try things out, and solve problems con- tribute to their growing ini- tiative. Methods that squelch

children’s interest, inhibit their behavior, and make them afraid to try things be- cause they might make a mistake take away their confidence in themselves and work against bringing out each child’s own initiative. In addition, adults encourage initia- tive in children by modeling it themselves. As mentioned earlier, all parents may not want to encourage individual initiative. Sometimes they will agree to disagree and

Adults are responsible for setting up environments that are safe and inviting

Growing up with multiple food allergies has not al- ways been simple. Due to my inability to consume dairy products, nuts, and peanuts, I have been forced to overcome challenges that might appear mundane to the average person: restaurant menus present count- less dangers, air travel is often perilous, and birthday parties can be unnerving events. As one of the only children with a restrictive diet, few parents and teach- ers understood the implications of my allergy, ignor- ing my medical and dietary needs and consequently excluding me from certain food-related activities. Yet, despite these obstacles, I have had a relatively normal childhood thanks to my mother’s relentless efforts to advocate for my inclusion in invaluable experiences.

Though I never gave much thought to my mother’s omnipresence, I now recognize her tireless efforts to ensure normalcy, facilitate inclusion, and promote awareness. Indeed, whenever I visited restaurants on class field trips, my mother was there to ensure that I would have the same culinary and cultural experience as other students. When necessary, she would prepare alternative desserts so that I would be able to enjoy myself at friends’ birthday parties. Prior to air travel, she would verbally spar with airline representatives in order to ensure that no peanuts would be served en route to our destination. Without a staunch advocate like my mother, I would never have been able to par- ticipate in activities that have shaped who I am today.

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