Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Talents--a pondering response

This is...well, not so much a some pondering about a post in another blog I read (Eternal Lizdom):

And it's all got me thinking about talent. About passion. About recognizing what we bring to the table. It's a simple enough question. What are your talents? But it's a question that so many have difficulty answering. Because to answer it honestly may indicate pridefulness. But I, of course, disagree. I believe we were given our gifts and talents with a purpose. To use them. To share them. I'm not saying we should be running around bragging. But I think there is no shame in recognizing what you are good at. What you take pride in. But what if you don't know what your talents are? This kind of baffles me. I've known at least some of my talents for most of my life so I can't imagine not knowing. What if you are going day to day, not knowing what you really excel at? What gifts you bring to those around you? Is it that you truly don't know? Or is it that you refuse to see something so positive about yourself? What is holding you back from recognizing something you do well? My talents? In no particular order... Singing, listening, advising, writing. What are your talents? You have full permission to brag on yourself.

Interesting food for thought. I used to assign a journal topic like this to my students. They didn't know what their talents were. So I changed it to "What are you an expert at?" This, they were able to answer. They were experts at video games, singing, football...

Maybe this is best addressed by me as what I THINK I'm talented at:

1) Directing Plays
On any given night, I can leave rehearsal with a smile, thinking that I really am a good director, a good leader. Or I can leave rehearsal thinking that I've screwed up again, I don't really know what I'm doing, I'm just a hack. So...directing is my sometimes talent, I guess. I KNOW I'm a good director with the kids, but I'm not so sure that my directing successes with the adults are anything more than just a fluke.
2) Writing
Mmmm. No one has made me question my writing skills. I know I'm a pretty good writer. I don't know that I could ever make my living at it--though people have suggested it. I like writing. If I had it to do over again, I would go back to school for journalism. I KNOW I can write.
3) Organizing and Planning
This I can do, too--from organizing an entire children's theatre group to planning events to scheduling a weekend trip. THIS I can do.

But, are there people who don't know what their talents are? I think so. The students I've had in class. They don't know what their talents are, and if no one nurtures them, they may never know what their talents are. I remember Jacob Woodard--a very talented artist. He came back to visit me when he was in high school and I asked him about his art. He wasn't even taking an art class. A talent undeveloped, un-nurtured.

I can't talk about talents without talking about the people around me: my husband and my two boys. But, this post grows long. That will be for another day. :-)


  1. I often think that in their heart of hearts, the majority of people know what their talents are. I also believe that our talents and our passions are linked- if we listen. I like your differentiating "talent" and "expert." Finding terms that work for your audience.

    I have wondered if acting and theatre is a talent of mine or just a passion...

  2. Interesting point between talent vs. passion from Liz.

    Do I have passion for educating children and a talent for management? Or do I have a talent for working with students and a passion for management? Or do I just have a talent for both and not a passion for either one? I am good, very good, at both, yet I don't know if the passion there. Yet, does the passion keep me going so that I continue to be good at what I do? Very perplexing to me...

  3. Hmm. I think it would be a talent if you're good at it. Is it possible to have a passion for something you're not good at???