We each have God-given abilities, and so do our children. Parents have a responsibility to help their kids identify and develop skills and abilities.
I believe God has gifted each person a portion of talent that requires time and effort to develop. It might be something creative, physical, intellectual, interpersonal, etc. A child does not need to be a prodigy to have God-given abilities.
Consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30. A man was leaving on a journey and entrusted his servants with his property. He gave each a different amount of talent, or gold, according to their ability. The servant receiving five talents traded with them and made five more. The servant with two talents also made two more. The servant receiving one talent buried it in the ground to hide it.
If you are familiar with the parable, you know the first two servants were praised for their investments, but the third was not. He hid the talent the master gave him. He was considered slothful as he made no effort to increase what he was given.
I like to use this parable when encouraging my kids in identifying and growing their God-given gifts. I’m intentional in introducing them to new crafts or skills. I listen to hear what they find interesting and look for ways they can learn more.
Kids need to be encouraged to develop their talents regardless of the portion they were given. A child that excels athletically must physically work to develop skills. An artist must learn about tools and methods while practicing their craft technique.
We often have music playing in our home. When one of my boys was younger he always drummed with his hands to the beat of the music. It was impressive how well he kept time at an early age. He would add additional beats and sounds by drumming on the counters, random items, or stomping his feet. Music didn’t even have to be playing and he was beating on things around the house. He now owns drumming equipment and we help him find opportunities to grow his talent.
All of my kids have been drawn to music. Another son begged for a guitar every Christmas and birthday. When he finally had one, there were no opportunities for lessons. He plunked and strummed anyway. After a friend showed him a few cords he began teaching himself by watching tutorial videos on YouTube. In hindsight, I believe the structure of formal lessons would have quenched his passion during his early learning. When he plateaus in his self-taught efforts, God faithfully puts someone into his life to show him something new.
Although my boys enjoy playing instruments, they experience dry seasons where they set them aside. It usually occurs from a long period where there is no place to share their gift. God does not want them to bury their talent. He has graciously put opportunities before them to participate in youth worship and to perform at a summer concert. The more introverted of the two boys struggles with stepping out to publicly perform. He has to be encouraged to take a risk. Only he can choose to invest his talent instead of burying and hiding it.
We have explored many interests with each of our children such as music, sports, art, photography, sewing, and much more. Some skills take more practice than others. We also recognize that some talents are given in small portions. My petite child enjoys sports, but will never reach the height to be a professional basketball player. They are still encouraged to invest in the portion of talent they are given.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5
When children invest in their God-given abilities, their skills will grow and develop. Those gifts, no matter how small, are given for a purpose. It’s unknown when the Master will call upon them to account for, or share, the talents they have been given. As parents, we must help our children identify their gifts, and prayerfully help them invest and increase their talents.
What gifts do you see in your children? How are you encouraging them to grow their talent?