Helping children get in touch with their own innate gifts
How long has it taken us adults to recognize the true gifts that we were born with – supposing we actually know what they are at this time? And, if we have recognized these beautiful gifts, how long has it taken to fully own them – and own them from a healthy, mature place? For most of us this likely still may be a work in progress, yet we can still support children incredibly well from exactly where we are at in our process. If we understand how painful it can be for a child who doesn’t feel very gifted, we’ll see what an impact we can make on them by helping them. When you can be a clear reflection for their innate gifts and strengths, you can help them identify some of their most unique and empowering qualities at a time when they are building the foundation for who they truly are.
The gritty truth about our deepest gifts is that they are also our most challenging teachers at certain times of our lives. They have a light and a shadow side – they can reveal our wholeness and beauty, as well as those less pleasant parts of ourselves that get in the way of our wholeness and beauty. Both of these sides can, at times, be hard to see and accept. For example, one of my greatest gifts is my enormous amount of energy – I’ve always had it. It helps me stay focused, accomplish incredible things, and at times, inspire others. If only that were it…. The shadow side – the way this has been a huge and very challenging teacher for me is that is also showed me very clearly were I was not present with my own inner world. It showed me how I didn’t listen, and how I virtually pushed others out of the way, putting many people off in the process. Now, with the shadow side well seen, processed and integrated through a beautiful and certainly at times painful journey, these gifts seem to mostly be expressed in conscious ways. Learning how we relate to our gifts is what reveals the deeper teachings that they have for us.
Identifying their gifts
Notice how your child relates to and interacts with themselves, other people, and the situations they encounter.
Even if it may be expressed in more selfish or negative ways at times, do they have a natural ability to:
- Lead others
- Teach skills
- Explain things
- Resolve conflict
- Communicate clearly
- Create art
- Connect to nature or animals
- Be empathetic for others
- Argue points well
- Joke in very clever and insightful ways
- Sooth and heal
- Maintain a coordinated connection to their body
- Solve problems
- Have tremendous energy
- Understand people or situations quickly or deeply
- Have a way with words
- Maintain focus with challenging tasks
- Catch details others miss
- Ask meaningful questions consistently
- See a bigger picture of a situation then is usual for their age
1. Look at yourself and identify your own gifts, as well as the light and shadow side of those gifts. Ask those close to you for their feedback on this as well – we all have many blind spots. Knowing this is important for many reasons – namely that you’ll be able to share this with your children, as well as model facing the challenge of owning the shadow and the light your gifts help you to see.
- Identify their innate gifts. Notice what lights your kids up! Where do they look most alive, engaged, caring or passionate? These energies are always related to some deeper aspect of themselves, and usually to some of the stronger qualities they have (gifts) that will be a big player in the course of their lives.
- POINT IT OUT TO THEM in loving ways, letting go of any attachment to them fully understanding it immediately (it can take years for them to truly see that they have such gifts).
Use phrases like:
- “You have a very natural ability to….”
- “You really have a beautiful gift in how you…. / in your ability to….”
- “I appreciate you sharing…. / you sharing your gift of….”
- “You seem to have been born with the gift of…. / the ability to…. / the sensitivity towards….”
- Find a language that works. You don’t want to indoctrinate your kids into believing that they need to be a certain way – lest they perceive your love for them as conditional (and put emphasis on “acting” in certain ways to get your love and approval).
- Share your own personal journey with your innate gifts – how you came to see them, eventually own them more fully, and what the light and the shadow sides of them have been for you. Share what you’ve learned about yourself. Share what’s been easy or hard about this for you. Even feel free to share the current challenge you may have with relating to your gifts.
- A deep sense of self-confidence that is tied to how they see themselves
- An inner emotional stability that comes from this healthier self-identity
- The opportunity for them to connect with others in more empowered ways
- An opportunity for you to support them more directly in expressing and nurturing these gifts
- And of course, the opportunity for you to create a deeper personal connection with them
Some final thoughts on this:
In terms of brain development, the way in which they relate to themselves and to their lives changes profoundly over time – so it will take time before they can fully comprehend what it means to really embody their gifts. Over years of gently helping them see their strengths they will begin to create a healthy and more empowered way of relating to them.
Also, it is a simple reality of personal development that some children will have a learning process that presents itself as them actually shunning their gifts for years. That is not a problem, its part of a deeper process they are going through – though it is likely to cause unpleasant feelings and stagnation. Remember to connect with the deeper, less obvious experiences and perceptions that they are having. Patience, of course is key.
Recognizing our gifts is one thing, learning how to work with our gifts is another – and serving humanity with them… that is their highest expression.