I was born with the gift of the gab, or so I was told about one million times growing up. Spending time in church and youth fellowship groups as a young man I also knew one other thing, we are all equal. I don’t believe either of those things now.
Both statements strongly resonated with me as a child. Who doesn’t want to be ’gifted’ after all. I wasn’t even sure what it meant to be completely truthful, it just sort of registered with me that I could ‘gab’ my way through, around, under or over things, events and people. I became an auctioneer partly because of my confidence in my ‘gift’. I played in bands for the same reason or at least a branch of the same reason. I had spoken in public many times therefor playing and singing in public wasn’t so scary.
I didn’t ever challenge the notion of being gifted in this way because it was a nil sum game in my view. If they were right, nothing was going to change and if they were wrong I was in a deep dark hole with nothing to pin my hopes on. None of that is true in reality of course, but this was the battle raging in my head and heart. The reality is, the label was not helpful, and this is why.
Because we are all born equal, my gift meant i was deficient in some other area. So every time I came up against something I struggled with, I was way too quick to write it off as the pay back for my gift. For example, I struggled to get any enjoyment from reading as a kid. So I simply wrote that off as the other side of the coin to being able to talk. You can’t do both obviously, I could talk therefore it was OK to be really bad at reading. Once again, not reality or sensible, just what was going on in my head.
I didn’t hit puberty until my eighteenth year, so I was a little gobby brat. Poor organisational skills was another of those gaps in my development that I was way too quick to write off as the price to pay. I would have been so much better off knuckling down and working on getting organised. I spent a lot of my youth keeping people at bay lest they figure out just how deficient I was. What a waste of my energy that was.
So the moral of this little tale is, while it is lovely to point out strengths in young people as they grow up, make sure that young person is developing a well-rounded personality. Self assessment will almost always leave us feeling short of a pass mark, so providing assistance to a young person while they develop their personality can be invaluable.