This was originally posted March 6, 2010, 28 months before the accident that took Nate's life.
My eight-year-old grandson, Nate, drew this picture the other day to go with a report that he is doing on Dr. Seuss. It is obvious to me that this is talent. He has been drawing this well for years--with either hand. We are all pretty impressed. Amazing. Talented. Gifted. And guess what? He came that way--straight from God.
Now talent is an interesting topic. Most people--and I am one of them--are impressed with four main areas of talent: art, music, sports, and academics. Achievement in any of those categories means something to almost everybody. If you don't believe me, just go re-read all of the Christmas letters you got which chronicled the accomplishments of your friends' children--you know, the ones that left you feeling like you were a failure as a parent because your children are so ordinary. Have you ever received one that showcased obedience or compassion or brotherly love or my favorite: common sense?
As a parent, I have tried to identify some talent or strength in each of my children in which to invest--so they could feel special. I have studied them from infancy to find that spark to fan, hoping that in doing so, it would build confidence and give them a passion for something unique to them.
I secretly--or not so secretly--have wanted to find a hint of one of the top four talents. Unfortunately for them, my children don't come from overachieving, talented stock. My husband and I are just average folks, born to average parents. We have average intelligence and average looks and average abilities. We don't sing or dance or play an instrument or have a shelf of trophies for our athletic accomplishments. We don't even hold college degrees.
Perhaps if a spark had been identified when we were younger, it may have been fanned into a campfire; but even with fanning, it would not have produced a forest fire. Average. Straight-from-God average.
Regardless of our stock, I've enrolled my children in piano, drum, violin, and harp lessons. I have signed them up for basketball, baseball, soccer, and dance. I have even paid for art lessons. And guess what? Not a musician, athlete, or artist among them. I have read the classics to them and paid for higher education and guess what? They are not geniuses. I have fanned--believe you me--and even threw in some accelerant--and they still appear to be just like their parents: straight-from-God average.
Or maybe not.
Perhaps God thinks things are special that the world does not. I'd like to think that God has, in fact, gifted me and my family with talents--no matter how seemingly insignificant--to be used for His purpose. And more importantly, I'd like to think that we are being faithful to Him with those talents.
I wonder if others have questioned God's sovereignty when it comes to His choice in gift giving. I know that through my 33 years of parenting, there have been times when I--yes, I know it's horribly selfish--wanted more for my children than their heavenly Father has seen fit to give them. I've wanted more for myself as well.
Since writing this, I have seen some serious return on my dance lesson investment with my youngest daughter, Tessa. That may or may not mean something.