Humble Uniqueness

By Lorene Hanley Duquin

We all think of our children as special. Each child has gifts and talents that make him or her unique. But a recent study of college students, who were constantly told they were “special” as they were growing up, turned out to be more narcissistic and self-centered than previous generations.

The problem is that telling children that they are “special” is a half-truth. The real reason we are special is because God gives us gifts and talents. It’s not about us; it’s about what God has given to us!

Unique Gifts

God also gives unique gifts to individuals. Perhaps your child is a good student. Or you might have a child with a talent for sports, music, art or writing. Some children have natural leadership skills. Some have a sensitive nature that makes them want to reach out with compassion to other people. Some have a gift for nurturing plants or animals.

It’s important to warn your children that a gift can also be a weakness. For example, a child who has a gift of physical strength should never use it to bully or dominate someone else. A child who can make people laugh should be warned against using humor to belittle someone else.

It’s also important to teach children that being jealous of someone else’s gift is wrong. We should celebrate everyone’s gifts because gifts are like pieces of a puzzle. We can’t see the picture unless all of the pieces fit together!

The Spiritual Gifts

At baptism, your child also received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are strengthened during the Sacrament of Confirmation and nourished continually through the Sacrament of Eucharist. Here is a recap of the spiritual gifts of the Spirit:

WISDOM to see the world — not from my own perspective — but as God sees it.
UNDERSTANDING to recognize that what lies below the surface is sometimes more powerful than what appears to be obvious.
JUDGMENT to know the difference between right and wrong.
COURAGE, or FORTITUTDE, to stand up for what is right.
KNOWLEDGE to always seek the truth.
REVERENCE, or PIETY, to recognize what is holy and sacred.
WONDER and AWE, previously called fear of the Lord, to discover deeper appreciation of the mystery of life.

Formed for Humble Uniqueness

How can you recognize your child’s gifts while also instilling humility?

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the gifts given to each child in your family.
  • Make sure your children understand that God expects them to use their gifts for good.
  • Don’t ask your children what they want to do when they grow up. Instead, ask them how they can use the gifts God gave them.
  • Talk about the gifts God has given you and how you’ve used them in your life.
  • Find ways your children can use their gifts in your parish or in your community.
  • Encourage your children to thank God every day for the gifts he has given to them.

Coming next week:  Prayer for Relationships

This content comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.


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