When our daughter was about three years old, she started getting job offers to work in retail. From the time she could walk, if a cabinet door or drawer were open, she would shut it. While we waited to check out in a store, she would automatically start organizing the counter displays to make them look neat and interesting. If I were looking at a rack of clothes, she would start putting things where they belonged on nearby tables. She was blessed by God with the talent of organization. (Which I hasten to add, she did not get from me!)
Some children are not artistic in any way. Their stick figures even look bad and they can’t carry a tune. It would be easy to dismiss them as having no talent. I think the Bible tells us something different. When the members of the Church are spoken of as parts of the body, it appears everyone has a function. It doesn’t say anywhere, “and for the rest of you talentless people”. God has given everyone at least one gift that helps the Church. The trick is to help your child find out what that gift is.
The best way to help your child discover his gifts is experimentation. Let him try different things and see if there is something he particularly enjoys or has a knack for doing. If nothing comes to light after a few tries, take a step back and really observe your child. What does she do well in life? Is everything around her always neat and tidy? Then her gift may be organization. Is she always punctual and can keep everyone else on task? Then she may have the gift of project management. Can he “see” things about other people, that may not be immediately obvious to others? (Our daughter as a baby, would scream like crazy around certain people. To a person, we later found out everyone one of them was involved in a tremendous amount of dark, hidden sinning as a lifestyle.) He may have the gift of discernment.
The idea is to make a list of every skill your child exhibits or has exhibited at some point. She doesn’t have to be the best in the world at whatever it is, but just show an amount of proficiency. Once you have the list, think about how the Church can use each of those skills. Maybe she can be in charge of checking on the Bible classrooms and making sure they are neat and stocked with materials. Perhaps he can be the one who develops a more efficient system for reaching visitors. Be creative and if your child is a little older, involve her in the process.
Too often, we focus on the showy gifts and ignore the less obvious ones that often are what keep the Church running smoothly and reaching others for God. Even if your child has one of the more “obvious” gifts, don’t forget to look for the less obvious ones and develop those too. Some of the most effective missionaries I have seen were also great organizers!
What “hidden” talents have you noticed in your children? How can they be used to serve God? Please leave a comment below, as I know there are a lot of parents who would love some more examples which may also apply to their children!