Myself, Angela and 2 of our friends have taken on the roll in our church of Youth Leadership. It has been on all of our minds that we are going to intentionally discuss and encourage the gifts and talents that the youth display. I can think back when I was a teenager to very pivotal points in my life when someone has intentionally come over to me and quietly said “hey- great work on the drums this week” or “Thanks for taking time to listen to me” or “you are good at encouraging” These types of comments that seem very insignificant have an incredible way to not just stay on the surface, but burrow deep into our minds. These comments subconsciously helps us make decisions about our future, it gives us a sense of confidence, it gives us strength to work through hardships, this encouragement can often define us. And in the same way an uplifting comment can help us rise up and reach our full potential, a hurtful comment can tear us down and destroy us.
Last year I was reading a “personality test” for career purposes to a friend – he answered, I filled in the blanks for him. His answers to my questions caused me to look up from the quiz to see if he was actually being serious. His answers were often more of what he wished he was like, rather that what he was actually like. Needless to say, in the end he was unhappy with every suggested occupation. He dismissed areas of his character that he didn’t appreciate and the end results changed dramatically.
It is so important to know what your gifts are at an early age and knowing what your gifts aren’t is equally important. It is largely the responsibly of the people around you to identify and encourage the gifts that they see portrayed. When I was growing up I wouldn’t have been able to look at a list of gifts and talents and accurately choose the ones that applied to me. In the same way that my friend answered the occupational quiz, I would naturally dismiss gifts that have real value to my character- like patience, encouragement, or organization- and put emphasis on the gifts that I wished I had or the ones that applied to me most at the time- like sports, Leadership, good grades, or humor. (All are just examples of different gifts!)
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if my family and friends only encouraged the superficial talents that I had or poked fun and teased different things that make me who I am today. I am just thankful that I was surrounded by people who saw value in areas of my character that really matter.
I would love any suggestions that you have- whether its team building exercises, individual skill building, or just plain old FUN games that will help out our youth!
And I want to know who you are! Do you read my blog often? Has it helped you in any way? Let me know!