Kids love presents. There is something exciting about tearing off beautiful wrappings and finding a surprise meant only for you. Your kids may not realize God has given them gifts, too. You’ve probably taught them everything they have is a gift from God, but have you taught them about the personal gift or gifts God has given them?
When discussing gifts, many churches focus only on the spiritual gifts given to Christians mentioned in Corinthians. Often those conversations are more confusing than helpful…especially to young people who haven’t been baptized yet. What churches often miss is the discussion on the more concrete and easy to understand gifts or talents God gives everyone to use to serve Him.
When the Tabernacle was being built, there is an interesting passage in Exodus 36 about some of the craftsman involved. It seems God gave certain people gifts or larger portions of gifts needed to build the Tabernacle. It’s these gifts of talent that are easiest for your kids to understand. We know from the parable of the talents that each of your kids has at least one gift from God to use in serving Him. Your mission as a parent is to help your kids discover, develop and find ways to use those gifts to serve God.
Since the first task is opening or discovering those gifts, what are some good ways to do that? Here are some of our favorite tips.
- Observe your kids carefully. What do they like to do in their free time? What do they like to read about? What lessons are they begging to take? What raw talent are they already exhibiting? Often the talent God gave a child is obvious from an early age. There seems to be an inborn passion for using that talent and even small children can show the beginnings of talents. Watching your kids carefully can give you clues to their possible talents. (Note: Not all interests and passions are tied to actual talents.)
- Think outside the box. Most people think of talents as obvious ones like artistic or musical talent. After they have gone through the list of those half dozen talents, they assume no talent is present. Intelligence, organizational skills, and other less obvious talents are also from God and need to be developed and used to serve Him. You can search for our past blog posts with a long list of these gifts.
- Give them opportunities to experiment. Give gifts of kits that allow kids to experiment with different gifts in a rather affordable way. Many craft stores and places like Home Depot are known for offering free or low cost classes that allow kids to try out possible talents.
- Encourage them to read about their interests. Your public library probably has books on a variety of topics to let your kids explore by reading about more complex talents before investing large amounts of money in lessons or resources. If your child is fascinated with glass blowing, for example, reading a book may help him or her understand whether actually blowing glass would be something they might really enjoy and have a talent for doing.
- Take them to demonstrations. Some talents are regularly demonstrated. Back stage tours can help your kids see the work involved in developing and using a talent. Many art shows, historic and educational sites and specialty trade shows like cooking shows have live demonstrations. Often those observing are allowed to ask questions. Most demonstrators love answering the questions of kids and may even let them experiment.
Helping your kids discover, develop and use their talents to serve God is one of the most fun parts of Christian parenting. Spend some time this year helping your kids unwrap their gifts from God.