Once upon a time the Child was in first grade and assigned the teacher everyone warned us (and her) away from.
You want anyone but Mr. X!! He’s really tough on kids and parents.
I was apprehensive, but went into the experience with an open mind.
To my surprise and delight she adored her new teacher. He led the class (and the parents) with a firm but loving hand.
He wasn’t a fit for many families. He was a perfect match for ours as how he led the classroom meshed exactly with the style of parenting we used at home.
I vaguely recall asking her after school if he liked the gift and her responding he did.
Months later, however, she came home from school over-joyed.
Mr. X drank coffee in class and used the cup I made for him!!
Her delight sparked a conversation (it makes us feel good when we see people using gifts we’ve given them!) and slid, unplanned, into a discussion (we’re all born possessing unique gifts and our ‘job’ is to discover/use them.).
In the years following the decorated tumbler scenario referencing “using our gifts” (literal and metaphorical) has become a part of our family-language.
- We’ve chatted about discovering what we do easily/naturally and how that’s not necessarily what others excel at.
- We’ve talked about how using our ‘gifts’ and sharing them with the world makes our human community a better place.
- We’ve discussed how another person’s gifts are not better than ours—they’re just different.
This idea was simultaneously reinforced and challenged when I brought the Child to her first day of tennis camp.
As we walked through the gate toward the courts, we saw a woman painting a mural.
And, because my apple didn’t fall far from her Mama’s tree, the Child’s jaw dropped and she announced to the artist:
That’s amazing. I love that. It’s beautiful.
And, because the Muralist’s Apple did not tumble from my Mama-Tree, the woman murmured a thank you and immediately began to biscuit.
She explained: “This is just what I do. I’m not good at anything else.”
She asked: What are you good at? (the child immediately responded: writing) I’m terrible at that. I wish I could do that.
The artistwoman wasn’t able to see how tremendously we admired what came easily to her and how, since we possess no talent in that arena, we were enormously impressed by her work.
Valuable to others.
Karen’s phrasing caught my attention because the 3 words she’d chosen captured it entirely for me and because I believe, in the same way I believe in a life of service, it they capture why we’re all here.
Valuable to others.
Whether it’s “using gifts” on a surface, decorated coffee tumbler level (literally giving the giver pleasure when she sees) or “using gifts” meaning talents you possess which bring joy to others (as with the muralist).
It’s all about the gifts.
- Whether you’re religious and leave the quote as is.
- Whether you’re spiritual and tweak the words to fit your deity.
- Whether you’re atheist, drop the notion of G-d and replace with “a” and “the world” respectively.
(sits back. ponders. navel gazes. and invites you to do same.)
I’m leaving comments open and instead I ask you:
- What are your natural gifts?
- Do you ever fail to see these talents as valuable to others because they come easily to you ?