The most important gift you can give this year is to help them notice, appreciate, use, and give the gifts they already have. Here’s how.
Noticing and identifying
A lot of times, our strengths and greatest gifts are readily available, but until we recognize them, they go unnoticed. Share all the strengths you’ve seen and noticed in them. This is so empowering for them. A lot of children, and even lots of us adults, go through life wondering what we’re good at. Formalize it by writing it down and sharing it with them in a letter starting with ‘I think you are so good at…’. There are also online tests you can take to help identify their top strengths such as Strengthsfinders, High 5 Test, 16personalities.com, etc.
Action Item: Take the High 5 Test with your child to help identify their top 5 strengths.
Teach them how to use what they’ve been given
Once you’ve identified their strengths, don’t stop there. That’s the perfect time to activate them and put them to use through practice and experience. This one may seem obvious, but it’s crucial. This is also where you introduce grace, patience, and failure. As we all grow and develop in our strengths, hurdles and obstacles are sure to come. It’s not going to look perfect, and that’s okay! Make sure they know that progress, not perfection, is the ultimate goal and that all they do is covered in grace.
Action Item: Calendar time in the schedule for them to work on and improve their strengths and gifts.
Teach the gift of appreciating their specific gifts and talents
This is an opportunity to go deeper into why their specific strengths are valuable and needed. Oftentimes, even once we’ve identified and practiced our gifts and strengths, we think other ones are more important! Appreciating your own strengths and gifts is important. Take it further by appreciating all the other gifts they have. With the gift of gratitude, they will be able to count all the gifts and blessings in their life. Each day is a gift that has gifts within itself. Another fun gratitude exercise is a game where you go through the alphabet and try to list something you’re grateful for that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
Action Item: Encourage them to pray a prayer to thank God for their specific gifts.
Give gifts away.
Remind them that we aren’t given gifts just to have for ourselves, but that we can influence others with our gifts, strengths, and talents. Sometimes it will be by example, sometimes it will be by volunteering our time. But the purpose of our gifts is to be given to others.
Helping your child or student go through this 4-step process could be one of the greatest gift you give them…to then give to others.
– Andi Long
1. What is one thing that you’re good at? How did you find out?
2. How have you used that to help someone else?