All teens are gifted. However, the gifts need to be discovered. Give your teen the gift of self-knowledge.
Sometimes I irritate people when I say that all teens are gifted. They would prefer an idea of giftedness that makes some people privileged and the other people not:
• My teen is intellectually gifted. So sorry about your unfortunate teen who simply likes to bake.
• My teen is athletically gifted. So sorry about your unfortunate teen who is only good at fixing things.
But if you look at things through God’s economy, if a teen who likes to bake or to fix things is a *least* person, then probably they are, in God’s eyes, greatest. God values things that we will de-value.
So if God endows our teens with small or large gifts, it seems to me good stewardship to help our teens to discover these gifts, be thankful for them and develop them.
I have a good friend whose daughter loved baking from the time she was young. Never once did mom tell her daughter that baking was a waste of time, that she’d never make a living baking. Instead:
• When her daughter was young, baking became part of the math curriculum.
• Cleaning up became part of life skills training.
• In high school, she apprenticed at bake shops and with caterers.
• In community college, she trained as a chef.
Guess what? Today she is a professional and is making a living baking.
I have another friend who has a son who loves to tinker with things. In high school, he talked to his mother about his desire to be a plumber. He didn’t want to waste years of college and rack up student debt when he could get training and get to work. She respected his gift of tinkering and started him in dual-enrollment plumbing classes while still in high school. Today he owns his own business.
Baking is a gift.
Tinkering is a gift.
There are as many gifts as the vastness of our God. The trick is to help a teens know themselves well enough to discover and develop those gifts. That’s the gift we can give our teens: the gift of self-knowledge.
How do you give your teens the gift of self-knowledge?
Help them understand their values. Many teens haven’t thought about what is really important to them. Their faith? Work/life balance? Financial stability? Here’s a post to help them start thinking about values.
Help them pay attention to what they have learned from the role models in their lives. Whether the role models are real-life or in books, the people teens admire teach them something about themselves. Here’s a freebie that helps them explore.
Help them pay attention to things that they already do well. Their favorite subjects, hobbies, family activities, as well as awards they have won, all teach them things about themselves.
Help them pay attention to their interests. AND if they don’t know what their interests are, give them the gift of adventure. Increase the number of field trips, service projects, volunteering, hands-on projects, career shadowing.
Spend time discussing what they are learning by their experiences. This becomes the gift of self-knowledge.
If you would like a digital curriculum that coaches your teen through this process, take a look at 7SistersHomeschool.com’s Career Exploration Bundle.
Giftedness is not an exclusive thing. God has given all people different gifts. It’s our job to give our teens a gift: the gift of self-knowledge.
Vicki Tillman is one of the Sisters at 7SistersHomeschool.com, along with Sabrina, Kym, Marilyn, Sara and Allison. Wait! That’s only 6! Who’s the 7th Sister? YOU are!
Vicki is the mom of 5 homeschool graduates who are all loving the gifts that God has given them as teachers, photographers, podcasters, pet-owners and parents. Vicki blogs, creates curriculum and does homeschool coaching with her Sisters. She is also a mental health counselor and career coach.
Looking for more inspiration? See the other posts in this series:
- Gifts for Your Children’s Giftings: Unique Gifts
- Gifts for Your Children’s Giftings: Encouraging Your Future Fashion Designer