Tag: talents

Gifts

I’ve received many gifts over the course of a lifetime. A Strawberry Shortcake doll. Homemade doll clothes. A friendship bracelet. Breakfast in bed. Flowers picked from the yard. Homemade blankets. Cookies. Little notes. Kind words. Books. Trips. Time with loved ones.

When thinking of gifts, it’s easy to focus on things I can remember someone giving me. But I’ve also been given gifts I don’t remember getting. Life. Love. Talents.

Talents are a strange sort of gift. Like love, they are best appreciated when they’re shared. But how do you know what talents you have? You can’t see them. Often they don’t seem obvious.

Of course, there are the lucky few who seem to have it easy. They discover their talents young and don’t look back. For the rest of us, it’s not so simple.

Growing up, I had a lot of hobbies and interests. It was hard to pick one thing that I admired/ liked to do/ did best. I still feel like I’m trying to decide what direction to go in. Will I paint more portraits? Edit those novels and try to do something with them? Submit more cartoons to magazines?

And what of the less obvious talents? I’d like to be kinder and a better listener. I’d like to remember people’s names and be on time for things.

It’s hard to know where to direct the little time and energy I have. How will I best use the gifts I’ve been given and share them with others? Which gifts do I really have?

In the past, I’ve tried to make lists. I’ll write down the things people have said I’m good at, things I like to do, things I wish I could do. I think of the things I hate to do. What’s the opposite? Do I want to do that?

I’ve asked people close to me what they think I’m good at. This is not as helpful if you ask them for three words that describe you. Then you get answers like “hermit” which aren’t helpful at all. Trust me.

At this point, my plan is to choose a talent or two to focus on. Then I find little ways to use, develop, and share my talent. Baby steps. The joy I’ve received through trying to develop my talents is yet another gift. Talents are gifts that keep giving the more you share them. Like love. Talents are strange like that.

What is the best gift you’ve received? What talents do you have? What talents do you wish you had? How do you develop and share your talents?

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Charlie’s Room: A Knack

It was a beautiful day. Charlie didn’t have school. Isaac didn’t have work. Unfortunately, Marianne had a meeting.

“A day like this, and I’ll be shut inside for hours,” she said sadly as she prepared to leave.

“There should be some rule that allows meetings to be canceled or postponed due to good weather,” Isaac said.

“Like when a baseball game is called off due to bad weather?” Charlie grinned.

“Exactly like that.” Isaac handed Marianne her lunch and kissed her cheek.

“I’ll submit a proposal.” Marianne gave Charlie a hug. “Who knows? I can’t imagine anyone else really wants to be there on a day like today.”

After she drove away, Charlie and Isaac looked at each other. “Now what?” Charlie asked. “It’s too nice to stay inside, but you can’t work in the garden because of your allergies.”

“We could go on a walk,” Isaac suggested.

They quickly changed their shoes. Charlie opened the door and stepped out. “It’s warm. We don’t need coats,” he called over his shoulder.”

Isaac left his coat on the hanger and closed the closet door. “Let’s go. Do you want to head to the park?”

Charlie agreed. They headed down the sidewalk. Miss Marta was weeding the flower bed along her front walkway.

“Do you need any help?” Isaac asked. He could handle a little bit of weeding if it would help Miss Marta. He just might need a nap afterward and an extra dose of allergy medicine.

“No, thank you.” Miss Marta waved am arm towards the flowers. “This is my daily exercise and meditation combined. I wouldn’t miss it.”

“They are very lovely flowers,” Charlie said. “You are doing great!”

Miss Marta smiled. “You are such a nice boy. Thank you!”

They continued on their walk, greeting their neighbors. One neighbor was washing his car. “It looks so clean!” Charlie said.

Another neighbor was painting his fence. “Look how far you’ve come already! That’s great.”

They passed a lady walking a little dog. “He’s so cute!

A woman was checking her mailbox while wearing a giant hat that looked like it was made out of flowers. “That’s an amazing hat!”

They left behind them a trail of smiles. Charlie and Isaac were grinning too. Charlie paused as they got to the park. “I feel happy when I make people smile,” he reported.

Isaac nodded. “When we help people out, even just by giving a sincere compliment, it’s normal to feel happier.”

“I think I’m good at giving compliments,” Charlie said. “I didn’t even have to think about what to say. It just seemed obvious.”

“You were good at thinking them up, and brave enough to say the nice things you were thinking,” Isaac pointed out. “Not everyone is good at the second part either.”

“Really? Why would it be scary to say something nice?” Charlie thought for a moment. “No, I still don’t understand it.”

“I don’t know. Sometimes just talking to people is scary for some people.”

Charlie nodded. “There’s a girl in my class at school who is really shy. She doesn’t say much and she talks really quietly. She has really neat handwriting, though. It looks much nicer than anyone else in our class can do.”

Isaac smiled fondly. “Charlie, I think it’s official. You have a knack.”

“I do?” Charlie looked confused. “What’s a knack?”

“It’s a talent, something that you do well.” Isaac patted his shoulder. “I’m happy to say that it’s not just any knack. It’s an extra-special knack that will make the world around you a better place.”

“Really? Like a superpower? What is it?”

Isaac leaned forward. “Charlie, you have a knack for seeing good in other people and complimenting them on it.”

Charlie nodded slowly. “We just said I’m good at that. It’s a knack?”

“Definitely. It’s a rare and very helpful talent.” Isaac looked up at the blue, blue sky. The sunshine was warm, and the flowers were blooming. “Race you to the park?”

“Let’s go! I have a knack for running faster than you too,” Charlie called over his shoulder as he ran ahead.

“We’ll see about that!” Isaac raced after him. It really was a beautiful day.

Charlie’s Room: Just Charlie

When Isaac returned home from work, Charlie was waiting for him by the door. Isaac smiled at him as he changed his shoes. “Hey, kiddo. What’s up?”

Charlie scuffed the toes of his shoes against the carpet. “I need help with my homework.”

Isaac hung his coat up. “Okay. I’m ready now. Lead the way.”

He followed Charlie down the hall to his room. Charlie turned his desk chair around and sat down. Isaac pulled the chair by the bookshelf over and sat facing him.

“I’m supposed to write about what I want to do when I grow up.” Charlie picked up a paper off his desk and turned it to face Isaac. The assignment written on it was just as Charlie reported.

“You mean like a bucket list? Things you want to do before you die?” That sounded like a fun assignment. Someday Isaac wanted to sit down and write a list like that. The challenge would be to narrow it down to the things you really, really wanted to do. There were just so many interesting things in the world, and not enough time to see and try them all. Read More

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