Encouraging Children to Use Their Talent

It’s that time of the year again when school bells have been ringing all across the nation.  Gone are the fun-filled days of summer; time for packing lunches, getting back to a new schedule, and yes, that dreaded word, “homework.”

If you are not a parent, chances are children will still cross your path, be it in the form of your nieces or nephews, grandchildren or perhaps as students if you are a teacher at church, school, or any extracurricular activity. An opportunity awaits all of us as this school year begins to become an active participant in what the purpose of this blog is all about-encouraging children to pursue their talents.

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, a talent is a weight or money.  It is used figuratively in the New Testament for mental and spiritual attainments or gifts as in The Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:15-28)

The parable goes like this:

A man decided to go on a long trip, so he called his servants and asked them to take care of his house and his money while he was gone. The man decided to give one servant five talents of money, to another he gave two talents, and to the last servant he gave one talent.  He gave each servant an amount he thought they could handle according to their ability. After a nice long trip, the master came back and wanted to know what his servants did with his money. 

The first man with the five talents said, "You trusted me with five talents and I made five more!" 

The man with two bags of gold also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two bags of gold; I have gained two more.”

Then the man who received the one talent came and told his master, "I know you work hard for your money, so I was afraid to lose any of it. I decided to bury it and keep it safe.  Here is your one talent back."

The master replied to the first two servants: "Great job, good and faithful servants!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

But the master was not pleased with the third man and said, “You lazy servant!  At the very least you could've taken the money to the bank, and you would've at least collected some interest from it." He immediately took the talent away from the man and gave it to the first man who used his money to make more.

The point Jesus was trying to make is that, if you use your special gifts and abilities, God will give you more to keep doing these things you are good at.  He will trust you with so much more. 

So, how does The Parable of the Talents apply to children?  Can they be held responsible for not using their talents?  I don’t believe they can, but I believe the adults in their life are responsible for helping them develop their talents, so that those talents are not buried.

Granted, a child’s interests will flip-flop through various stages of his development.  But, I have come to believe that, if we are watchful, we can see talents flowing out from him according to the way God created him to be, and that’s the area where encouragement should magnified.

As this school year begins, may I challenge you to:

  • Pay attention to the child in your life and what interests him.  (You may have to turn off the TV and all the other hi-tech equipment in his hands to see this.)
  • Encourage him in the area that he is being drawn to.
  • Make materials and activities available to him that will help him pursue his talents. 

And above all--- encourage him to dream big!

 I am going to start the ball rolling with a big shout-out to my own grandchildren to “Go for it!” 

 

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Martha Bush

 

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