Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Kids Have Got Talent

“Very nice dear. NEEEXT!!!

I probably said that well….ah….FOUR HUNDRED TIMES. (Exaggeration not included.) Yes, one of my all-time greatest accomplishments in this life, is that I listened politely to hundreds of little girls sing: “ToMORrow! ToMORrow! I LOVE ya ToMORrow!” one by one by one by one by one – and was still a nice person at the end of the day. At least, I thought I was nice. A poll of the 400+ stage mothers who believed their little girl should be cast as “Annie”, might have read differently.

I have learned valuable lessons from mothers and fathers throughout twenty-five years of directing live theater. Actually, in all that time, only one disgruntled mother confronted me. (I suspect I’m still on her hit-list.) Otherwise, I found moms and dads to be incredibly generous, supporting the organization in any way they could. Whyyyy? The predominant reason by far was a deep-seated commitment on the part of the parents to facilitate their child’s happiness and development.

Born of my experience working with families in the performing arts and my personal experience as a stage mom myself, I have cultivated a two-part philosophy about such things. The first part boils down to this: my responsibility as parent is to help my kids chose and develop TALENTS. Notice I did not say “their” talents. That’s because I personally believe talents are skills we select to learn and master to some useful degree. We don’t really “own” them. Choose a talent, any talent, if you will – then go for it. Those we acquire can then be used to our own happiness and to the benefit of our families and the Kingdom.

On the other hand, it is also my experience that we are all born with “GIFTS”: attributes or abilities that come to us naturally. A classic example is Mozart, who was wowing everyone with his musical genius by age four. According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, this was because the composer had a head-start -- a pre-mortal disposition and aptitude:

“Being subject to law, and having their agency, all the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitude, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike. Mozart became a musician; Einstein centered his interest in mathematics; Michelangelo turned his attention to painting….Abraham and Moses all of the prophets sought and obtained the talent of spiritualities…And so it went through all the hosts of heaven, each individual developing such talent and abilities as his soul desired.” (Teachings of the Latter-day Prophets” SLC: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986.)

We know the Source-of-All-Good-Gifts (Moroni 10:18) shares our joy as we “discover” and develop the gifts he has given us for the express purpose of blessing others. (D&C 46:12)

Dale took me with him to London last fall and the highlight for me was Westminster Abbey. I was filled with the Spirit as we looked upon the graves and memorials of the world’s most celebrated poets, musicians, inventors, scientists, statesmen and soldiers. These are they who have played their part in the Great Plan of Happiness, I thought. And they did it by using their gifts. I feel the same way when I visit the Church Museum near Temple Square and walk through the portrait gallery of modern prophets and apostles.

However, to use our gifts, we first must DISCOVER, or discern, them. And to discover them, we often need support, usually from our families, particularly our parents. Christy Brown was an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who had control only of his left foot. Though non-verbal, his keen mind was desperate for expression. Everyone in his environment discouraged him from attempts to hold a paint brush or a pencil between the toes of his left foot. Everyone, that is, except his mother. With her encouragement, Christy went on to reveal himself as both a gifted artist and writer.

As our kiddos grew, we were always on the alert for opportunities to introduce them to a variety of interesting subjects, pursuits and people, including things we did not personally have experience with. I was determined to be sensitive to both the Spirit of God, and to the little spirits who were my children.

When they would express a curiosity or real desire, their Dad and I would, if circumstances permitted, do our best to facilitate their interest, aborting a pursuit here and there when our kiddo didn’t feel the “fire” that would identify a “gift”, or the sincere interest in really working at a particular skill (a “talent” by this definition).

Often of course, we parents feel it is important that our child stay the course even though they want to give up; some personalities in particular. For instance, mastering the piano takes years and there's going to be tears on the keyboard once in a while.

But I also admire the parents who are careful not to punish their kids into and through activities that consume their time and energy in a consistently unhappy or unproductive way; precious years that could be spent in something they really enjoy, if not have a passion for. For instance, we may expect kids to pursue a certain area due to OUR preferences or experience, or because it's a family tradition. I knew a family once who was obsessed with athletics -- every kid played every sport all year round -- which is great of course, except that one of the children did not have the opportunity to discover a real “gift” for acting until he was an adult.

There is no doubt that helping children discover their “gifts” or explore potential talents takes an open mind and an open conduit between adult, child and Heaven.

Two weeks ago, I sat in the audience of the Covey Performing Arts Center in downtown Provo. The packed house was demanding a second encore when memories, a decade old but fresh as yesterday, made me whoop like a crazy mom...

Who knew it would be a historic night in the life of my twelve-year-old when I packed up all the kids for a free, open-air concert in downtown Orlando? A variety of local acts was capped off by a new group called “Toxic Audio”. These three male and two female vocalists, all experienced Disney performers, blew the audience away with their amazing a cappella arrangements – vocals without instruments. If you closed your eyes, you’d swear you were listening to a whole band, not five human voices. Grant was on the edge of his seat, memorized, his whole countenance alight with a very promising “spark”. Afterward, I eagerly escorted him backstage to talk with the group – especially the vocal percussionist named Paul.

Paul graciously showed an interest in Grant and demonstrated a couple of sounds that Grant could practice at home. He did. And he added to his beat box repertoire with amazing speed and agility until one day, a few years later, after Grant had unleashed a torrent of thumps, hits and sizzles, Paul, always the encouraging mentor, exclaimed: “Grant buddy! You’re better than I am!” The group became our friends.

Today, Grant is the vocal percussionist for Vocal Point, BYU’s internationally acclaimed, champion, nine-man accapella ensemble. He brings himself and a lot of other people joy doing it. There is no doubt music is one of Grant's true gifts and vocal percussion is one of his most amazing talents. And I’d never even heard of it before that night in the park.

What a wonderfully noisy ride it has been! I can't even imagine what's

MUSE WITH ME about the kiddos in your life (we'll talk about grown-ups next week): What talents or gifts have you detected or encouraged them in? Remember: talents and gifts go far and broad across the spectrum of life. And they don't have to be remarkable or advanced to any degree to be of value and praiseworthy. (Translated: We all LOVE kid-sized/starter talents. If you have video or pictures, give us the link - or just tell us about it!) On April 12th I'll do a random drawing from all those who comment on this Musing for a gift certificate to a favorite ice cream parlor -- treat the kids after their next recital or game!


Evan said...

Our boys have always shown an aptitude for drawing. Cole, especially, has a way of finding a marker and a surface to draw on. We're trying to direct his talent so that he doesn't use your furniture as a canvas... again.

In The Doghouse said...

All I can say after watching the two videos of you son is...AMAZING!

Sue said...

Here's to reliving Cole's famous art project, and remembering how you all laughed about it.

Kym said...

Ramona, I love this post. I love talents. When I was just 14 I got my "p. blessing" which told me I had many talents yet to learn. I had no idea what life had in store for me then. Years after that blessing, I took some of your advice and "copied" you...when you told me you tried a new talent every year...that year you were gardening! :) Since then, I have done the same. I have loved it. What fun things I have learned... canning, specifics in baking, sewing, crocheting, coupon cutting (that's been the hardest!!)... I have to say it has been such a blessing. I only pray I remember to let me kids learn all they want instead of all I want. I'm excited to watch them grow in their talents! love you!!

Emu Monkey said...


I love the difference you made between talents and gifts. It is so true. I am pondering the many talents that my children have worked on and the gifts they have been given. I will post more later about them.

Mona said...

COOL! Looking forward to it!

Ellis said...

I love learning and I've always found many things interesting. I remember my parents buying me many toys or tools or kits or whatever of some new topic or skill that I was interested in learning. There have been a few things that I have pursued passionately without much encouragement but what I am most amazed at is my parent's persistence in helping me accomplish things that I didn't want to do at the time because it required so much hard work.

I have contributed many tears onto the piano keyboard, as well as major tantrums. As I hear is usually the case, my parents earned an Eagle Scout award through me. I don't know how bad I would have done in school without them checking with me to see if I was caught up with my homework and helping me, through the night many times, to finish my projects. And all this along with life and character encouragement to stay off or get off sad paths and leading me onto happy ones.

Because of their encouragement I got to receive the joy of accomplishing many piano recitals. They supported me in learning the computer inside and out, with a lot of that support being taking the computer in for repairs. I learned much more in school and made better projects because they were there helping me focus and stay on task.

Occasionally my laziness would get to them and they would let me not do something because I dragged my feet so much. My parents stopped taking me to piano lessons for a couple years because I just wouldn't practice without a lot of pushing.

I am amazed at how often they didn't give up pushing me to accomplish good things even with all my pushing back. I am very grateful for that, I am a much better person because of their encouragement and love.

Mona said...

Evan and Sue: hahahahaha. The truth is, everyone, that 3 year-old Cole has a gift for mechanics and his twin brother Grant has a gift for hard work/heavy labor. We're still unearthing the rest of their gems.

And Doghouse: Thank you!

KYM: If your babies are ANYthing like you they will be busting at the seams with gifts and the love of learning that will lead to many talents.

And ELLIS! Thank you for giving us the kid's perspective in a way that will help moms stay the course on those "tears on the keyboard" type of days.(Ellis is now a college student and a working fine artist/graphic artist --and a musician...a very creative person with many gifts -- and Talents that are apparently due to mom and dad's vision and long suffering!)

Fresh courage take everyone!

DeNae said...

I'm very intrigued by your thoughts on the differences between gifts and talents. As a music teacher from waaaaay back, I'm going to think hard on this...

Thanks for that!

Kristy Lynne said...

Your son is amazing. I'm excited to show Brian these videos. He enjoys watching exceptional performances. You are very right that "the Kid's Got Talent"!

I really love his pantomiming talent! It is not easy to pantomime. He is also pretty good at clogging. That's really impressive.

Valerie said...

That is so cool that your son is in Vocal Point. I've seen some of the groups through the years and they are always outstanding and so much fun!

My son is very musical. He took piano for 2 years and is learning the trombone now. He can pick up different instruments and play a song within minutes. One of my daughters--10 yrs. old--is very good at making cards (birthday cards, get well...) and people think an adult made them. My youngest daughter is great at creative writing. She writes stories all the time at school and at home. They are all so different and that's very fun.

Mona said...

DaNae: Oh GOOD! I'd forgotten you've worked musically with kids and people by the droves. I am curious about your thoughts on this.

Kristy Lynne: I'll tell him to be sure to read your comment!

Valerie: I'm impressed! Not only with the diverse talents in your family but with the positive way you see your kids! I wish I could know each one of them.

Melanie said...

Hi! I'm Ellis' mom and I'm glad to see his words of encouragement to parents. It is wonderful to see what fine people that children can become. It isn't always easy to force a kid to practice or do homework "for his own good" but we need to enforce with love those things that we know are important for their happiness.
I had another thought I wanted to share. Another of my sons is a talented musician. Once when he was in high school I was saying something about how he got his talents from a combination of my husband's and my talents. He turned to me and simply stated, "I didn't get my talents from you and Dad." I said, "You didn't? Then where did you get them?" He said, "I came with them".
I pondered that idea and realized he was right. We get children with gifts and talents and give them opportunities to develop and enlarge what they choose. So I didn't pass on any talent, but I did give the environment and opportunities needed to help his own talents emerge.
Our children have so many wonderful qualities and strengths that I learn from them now just like they learned from me when they were young. My children are my best friends (next to my wonderful husband).
Thanks Ellis, for listening and learning, even when you didn't want to!
PS - I really enjoyed the beat boxing. What fun!

Lois Brown said...

Grant is amazing! Wow!

Sarah said...

So... this is what Nephi does in his spare time... That is so cool! I just watched the clips of Grant with my three boys, 5, 3, and 18 months and they LOVE it. In fact, right now they're whinning at me to play it again. What a fun talent! Travis (my 5 year old) says, "that is awesome!" Thanx for sharing.

Elisabeth said...

My precious 3 year old has a natural intuition toward things of a spiritual nature. She was mumbling her own prayers and sleeping with a Book of Mormon tucked under her arm by 18 months old. The other day I found that she had fallen asleep reading her Book of Mormon. Here is a link to a picture I posted on line of it . I am amazed at the pearls of wisdom that come out of her mouth and how readily she learns the principles we teach her.
My spunky 2 year old has kept me on my toes since…well frankly since her surprise conception, through her premature birth on. She is a joy and light in my life. Her personality is still evolving and blossoming before our eyes every day. But the two things everyone seams to notice about her is her spunk and her need to groove. I mean the girl has gotta dance whenever she can, she is moving and grooving. She also has a massive pair of lunges so it would be no surprise to me if she were a singer and dancer someday. Here is a link to a picture of her on one of the many days she caught me off guard. She climbed on top of her changing table and smeared diaper ointment on her face (not joke!) .

Elisabeth said...

Oops the link I posted for Makayla my two year old requires a password. This link should work

Mona said...

Melanie: Thank you SO much for the "Mom" perspective! Very helpful.

Lois: And handsome too!

Sarah: I almost made a note in the post that "your kids are gonna love this" about the videos.

Elisabeth: That photo is a prize winner -- you should submit it to Church Magazines. What precious treasures your girls are!!!!!!

Kira said...

Rebekah loves music and is anxious to try the flute. She has a very accurate and creative hand. At 5 years old, she drew a daffodil face on...and I could tell it was a daffodil. Lily has a natural rhythm and loves to dance. Music is almost a passion. John is an engineer at heart...that's why he takes everything apart.

Wendy said...

I agree that is importnat not to impose family talents on children. Our oldest is likes to sing but does not want to take choir in high school. He would like to try photography. This was hard for us but we let him choose his path. I do think that it is importnat to encourage children to keep going when they are good at something even when they are "bored' or want to quit. Our daughter haley is learning to play the piano but does not love to practice but when she plays and practices it is wonderful so we keep her going despite the complaining sometimes. I don't want her to say when she grows up "I wish my mom would have kept me going" I to this day wish my mom would have kept me going!

marzee said...

I've always loved that quote by Bruce R. McKonkie. (Did I spell it right?) It's so great to be reminded of our growth before we came here. That we were "people" with interests, goals, passions, etc. and that this life is only a continuation of those discoveries.

I love your theory - differentiating talents and gifts. I completely agree and have always thought so myself.

Tab has a talent show at school coming up - and so I thought - what could she do? Sing? (Of course singing was my first thought.) So I began prepping her for "Over the Rainbow." She was delighted. However, a few days later I remembered that she had a stronger interest - art. (She's so great at it - her art teachers are amazed with what this little six year old can do.) So, I asked her which she would rather do? She voted art - and art it is.

Encouraging talents/gifts in my own children is new for me. I'm looking forward to it.

PS - I've watched those vids of Grant before. So awesome. Love to you!

Mona said...

KIRA: I'm just imagining your BEAUTIFUL children in their sweet pursuits and want to kiss all of you!

WENDY: Thanks for such great stories/examples about photography and piano. LOVE your kids so much.

MARZEE: Did she draw a rainbow instead of sing about one? She's obviously got the "gift of expression" I call it (which you do too)...allowing us to express ourselves through a variety of mediums. I love that you let her choose her talent for the show. Bravo.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

My parents were always so incredibly supportive of my art pursuits. Always encouraging when I was discouraged and were always gracious enough to buy me an endless supply of coloring materials.
My oldest daughter is always "drawing letters" and houses and flowers and people and faces! She really does like to draw. Whether she continues on that path only time will tell. She also does express interest in music. She says she wants to play the piano and sing. I only hope that we will always have the means to indulge our children's interests and "gifts". =)

Jules said...

Mona, I love reading your musings and felt strongly enough about adding my comments today that I actually learned how to blog! Wow-My daughter, Siarra has always loved to be on the stage. I've encouraged her and loved every minute of this experience. Last summer, we toured with your production of "With Mine Own Hand' and I watched her love of the Gospel grow each day that we were in Provo. Now, Siarra has become a missionary to all that will listen, studying her scriptures daily and being the best example to all around her. She meets frequently with other young people that are seeking the knowledge of true happiness and shares her insights. Last summer, I only had thoughts of seeing my daughter perform and of visiting Utah, hoping to interest her in attending BYU some day. Her musical interests and talent have opened a future to much more, a way to meet many, many people and an avenue to share the gospel as well as future plans to attend the Y.

Sara Lyn said...

First of all, I think you should be sainted for listening to "ToMORrow" that many times in a row. :)

I'm grateful for my family's patience in listening to me play the same songs on the piano OVER and OVER and OVER again. Not only that, but in our small house, with the piano right in the middle, there's no way to escape the noise. I think patience in that regard was vital because if someone had always been yelling at me to knock it off, I wouldn't have put the many, many, many hours into practicing.

I'm also grateful that my parents recognized that while I had natural ability, practicing the piano wasn't the only thing I wanted to do. They took me out of lessons after just a year (I hated my teacher) and let me practice that on my own.

I really like what you said about being open to the Spirit about finding talents for children. My mom talks about how Seth always said he wanted to animate for Disney. Instead of discouraging that dream, she helped him develop his drawing abilities. Years later, he worked for Disney-owned Pixar as an special effects animator.

I know I'm getting long-winded here, but my other thought on talents is I can't tell you how many people have envied "my talent." Then they bemoan the fact that they are "talentless." Talents aren't all music and art. Those are the easy ones to see. I stand in awe of people who are ORGANIZED, CONFIDENT, WELL-SPOKEN, NOT FORGETFUL, GREGARIOUS. These too are great talents. (Along with many, many others.) If we don't discredit these and I think we'll help our children find and develop additional talents.

And it goes back to like Mom always says when it comes to parenting, "Listen to the Spirit. Listen to the Spirit. Listen to the Spirit."

Mona said...

Serene: You're right about your parents - you were a blessed child and it shows today in your stunning artwork. I can't wait to see your children's gifts rise to the surface. Keep praying and "wishing"! (Remember "Wish List".

Jules: Siarra is one of the most vocally talented young women I have ever known. And I agree -- our talents and gifts lead us places if we let them.

Sara Lynn: I remember well your sitting at that piano in the middle of the house...but I don't remember it as an endurance contest, you were always so gifte. Now, if you had taken up the violin or trumpet...hmmm..... You make such an important point though about how family support often equals huge amounts of PATIENCE.

Mona said...

Friends: I have received the following email comment from Dr. David Thomas, who teaches music to children by profession. His passion for performance excellence and instilling a life-long love of music comes from almost 20 years teaching experience, including appointments as artistic director of Portland Choirs and the principal conductor of the 200-voice Utah Valley Children's Concert Choir. Dr. Thomas' EXCELLENT comment:

"I think that helping children find discover their gifts and choose which talents to develop is one of the most difficult and most important tasks of a parent (as well as of teachers, mentors, coaches, etc.) Prayer and remaining open to the quiet whisperings of God through His Spirit are wonderfully helpful in this task. I also think that regularly showing kids a willingness to try new things (as simple as a new food, new style of music or other art form) teaches volumes through the more indelible marks of example. In the process of discovering gifts and developing talents we must be willing to try and fail (in varying degrees) multiple times. But we live in a modern society that demands safety and guarantees at every step. We are rarely encouraged to allow ourselves (or others) to fail. I continue to plead with students to take more (responsible) risks during their own practice and in our lessons; to explore the limits of what they can do—and push back those limits as they learn to do more."

Sara Lyn said...

Ooo. I really liked Dr. Thomas's comment. It is a big responsibility and it does set up for failure, which I think we need to teach is okay. Thanks for sharing that!

Hannah Banana said...

I am loving all these comments! I love watching children and forecasting who they will become in the future.

When I was about 10 years old I started playing around on the piano. Because of MY interest, my parents signed me up for piano lessons. Before this, I was never forced to take lessons, but this time, because I was the one asking for the lessons, I was more committed. After 1 year I was playing at the same level as kids my age who had been playing for years. Same thing happened in gymnastics.

I also love dance, drawing, cultures, music, sports, crafts, reading, science, geography, etc. My parents encouraged my interests, and helped me CHOOSE to try these different things. Because of that I am a more rounded person, enjoying MANY things in life.

These are all talents, that have to be cultivated, and worked on. We can become good at anything we set our mind to. CHOICE has a powerful factor in determining our commitment. Hence the need for children to CHOOSE their talents. Though I do agree that parents can be a great support and influence in helping their children choose those talents. CHOICE and OPPORTUNITY.

Gifts, on the other hand, come from the premortal existence. I believe Elder McConkie's quote. Some have the gift of happiness, peacemaker, spirituality, expression, compassion, optimism, discernment, etc, that are given to us to help build the kingdom of God in our mission here on earth

When I attended Clark Community College in Vancouver, WA, I saw a sign for a job position. It was to be a Student Ambassador, giving tours of the college, welcoming news students, etc - right up my alley. At the time, I knew it would be fun and looked liked something I wanted to do. But I wouldn't have acted on it, unless my parents had encouraged me and helped me through the process. That choice to become a Student Ambassador, changed and blessed my life, and helped me better my gifts and talents, and find more I didn't know I had. These talents and gifts are now applied to other parts of my life.

Just as our Heavenly Father knows who we are deep inside, and provides those opportunities to develop them - so should and can parents. Through the spirit and their own GIFTS as a parent, they can see the potential in their children and provide loving opportunities!


Mona said...

Hannah darling daughter! Thank you for bringing out that we discovered as a family that when you kids followed your passions - you progressed like fire, reaching in short time the same levels as kids who'd been practicing for years. I'd forgotten that aspect of this topic and still marvel at it.

Mona said...

Hey everyone! I just found this fascinating quote from Sister Holland......

"My daughter is a musically talented young woman. For many years I felt that this talent would not be developed unless I loomed over her at the piano and insistently supervised her practice like a Simon Legree. One day, sometime in her early teens, I realized that my attitude, probably once useful, was now visibly affecting our relationship. Torn between a fear that she would not fully develop a God-given talent and the reality of an increasingly strained relationship over that very issue, I did what I had seen my own mother do when faced with a serious challenge. I sequestered myself in my secret place and poured out my soul in prayer, seeking the only wisdom that could help me keep that communication open—the kind of wisdom and help that comes from the tongues of angels. Upon arising from my knees, I knew what action I must take.

Because it was just three days before Christmas, I gave to Mary as a personal gift an apron from which I had conspicuously cut the apron strings. There was a tiny pocket on the apron in which I tucked a note. It read: “Dear Mary, I’m sorry for the conflict I have caused by acting like a federal marshall at the piano. I must have looked foolish there—just you and me and my six-shooters. Forgive me. You are becoming a young woman in your own right. I have only worried that you would not feel as fully confident and fulfilled as a woman if you left your talent unfinished. I love you. Mom.”

Later that day she sought me out, and in a quiet corner of our home, she said: “Mother, I know you want what is best for me, and I have known that all my life. But if I’m ever going to play the piano well, I’m the one who has to do the practicing, not you!” Then she threw her arms around me and with tears in her eyes she said, “I’ve been wondering how to teach you that—and somehow you figured it out on your own.” Now, by her own choice, she has gone on to even more disciplined musical development. And I am always nearby to encourage her.

As Mary and I reminisced about this experience a few years later, she confided in me that my willingness to say “I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake, please forgive me” gave to her a great sense of self-worth, because it said to her that she was worthy enough for a parental apology, that sometimes children can be right. I wonder if personal revelation ever comes without counting ourselves as fools before God? I wonder if reaching and teaching our children requires becoming more childlike ourselves? Shouldn’t we share our deepest fears and pain with them, as well as our highest hopes and joys, instead of simply trying to lecture and dominate and reprove them again and again?"

An Ordinary Mom said...

That kid has talent :) !!

Mona said...

I have received this insightful email from an experience mom/friend:

My children were both born with brilliant minds. It was so hard not to push them into the sciences and things using the mind they had been so richly blessed with.

However I knew if my children were to be really happy they had to find their own way I have loved watching my children try new things and seeing how they react to them.

Sometimes we had to put ear plugs in our ears to soften the noise, but it was so worth it when they finally were able to create the thing they had work so hard for.

I think letting the children work hard at something for the reward of achievement is an important part of their development. After a while if my children weren't happy with a "talent", we allowed them to try a different thing, with the understanding if they ever wanted to go back they could.

Both of my children gravitated toward Music, my daughter tried, ballet, flute and piano and she was very good at all of them, but it wasn't her thing. From the time she was a baby she loved to sing. (Badly) She would make up songs and we hard concerts daily and whenever we were in a car.

I would try to help her learn to sing. As she grew and developed she got better. One day I heard her in her room singing and it was amazing. She will only sing for the Lord in church.

My Son, would try things, but never would stick to anything. He was struggling with ADHD (so the doctors said, Mothers be careful when your child is given that label. That's for a different day.) He was brilliant with computers and games, so we thought maybe that was his thing, so we encouraged him any way we could, until one day when he was in the living room alone, I heard someone playing the piano, well. I went into the living room and he was sitting at the piano playing music. He had never had a lesson, he had only watched his sister when she practiced and went to classes. He picked up my old guitar and started teaching himself to play. One day after graduation he decided he wanted to a school in Canada and learn Audio Technology. It was his thing, he now plays in a band and is looking for a job in his field.

Sometimes it takes a while, all it takes is opportunity, exposure, support and loving genuine encouragement.

Sam and Suz said...

Love your inspiring words, Mona. I ditto your remarks about talents vs. gifts. I heard once that "talent is wanting something enough to work for it". As a singer, there have been times in my life when the Lord specifically taught me that music was a gift for me, to use for His glory. At times, especially since having a baby, I have not been able to dedicate my love and passion to singing as my heart desires. When called upon to sing somewhere, my first thought is "I can't do that - I am so out of practice....". But my heart gently nudges me to say "okay" and then my nerves begin to doubt the strong, confident singer I used to be. I find that when I do perform, the Spirit works in me and I am able to do it well....only because I am doing it for Him. He wants me to find joy in using my talents; He wants others to find joy in them, too. We get in the way of ourselves at times - and prevent ourselves from wonderful, spiritual connections with the very Source who gave us the gifts. I already see gifts in my 18 mo. old and can't wait to see what his life will be like. My soul aches for children who are never given the chance to discover theirs. I don't know if you ever knew this but one of my long-time (secret) dreams was to have a lead in a musical. I was approaching my 30s and thought, well, maybe it's not meant to be. Then "Seven Brides" came along and that private dream came true. What a thrill that was to work with you. I learned so much from you. I miss Dale and the Messiah so much it hurts. I miss working with passionate people who "get it". I am so blessed to be married to an incredibly talented man who shares my love for music, who can accompany me and, we have a lot to look forward to, don't we?? I love you, Mona :)

Mona said...

Suzie: We miss you too - more than we can say. We were such a team, weren't we? But you've got a new team now and it's the best one you could have! I hope you'll visit Musings again next week -- it's for YOU.

Larsen's said...

My children, young, but still show talents in a lot of things.
Lilliana my 6 year old loves to draw...She would draw all day long if I let her. She also loves to bead...she is very good with patterns. Lilliana also is interested in the violin but we haven't had the $$ to get her lessons yet!
My next child, Brigham he is four but shows a lot of interest in cooking and is a very quick learner. He also loves to draw and paint. He is a very strong boy and he has a talent of tackling his siblings. Maybe a football player...who knows.
My next, Samantha she is 2, talks like she is 16. She loves music and sings all the time. She has a talent of being the mother and telling her siblings what to do. (Bossy, but cute) She also already sings her alphabet and counts to ten easily. Go!! Samantha...she loves to rock with her play guitar and sing very loudly.
Now with the baby her talent right now is being the sweetest little thing ever!! Her smile is amazing and is so beautiful! She is very talented in brightening my day!

I am looking forward to seeing what other talents emerge as the kids get older! It is fun.

Love your toughts...thank you for the posting.
I love my children I just worry... that whatever my children are gifted in, my husband and I will not be able to support them financially. I want them to have all the opportunities to experience a lot but we can only do so much. I worry that I will not help a talent progress or a gift just because my husband and I can't afford to get lessons etc. But I guess we will just have to rely on Heavenly Father and hopefully we will be guided as we raise them.
Thanks for your thoughts Mona.

Mona said...

Larsen's: Thank you for sharing your children with us. I can just see them and it tugs at my grandma heart strings! Don't worry about financing their talents -- we were very tight or unemployed all the years our kids were growing up. Keep your mama-eyes and ears open for low cost or free opportunities - they are everywhere. Have you read the musing: "Wish List"....I think maybe you should.

Love you Cindy!

Mona said...
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Larsen's said...

Thank you Mona, That was great! I think I will make a list of all the wishes I have ever made and see what I find. I think I will find that a lot of them have come true. I love the thought that whatever blessings you want and you are CTR and doing your best they will come to pass. I do believe that Heavenly Father does want us to be happy and I can even imagine the smile and look of happiness on his face as he helps us achieve our dreams. Thank you, again.

Kimberlee said...

Thanks for the wonderful insight Ramona. I love how you differentiate gifts and talents. My oldest seems to be gifted in math, reading and piano but after some work and desire has shown some talent in sports. I hadn't really thought about the difference but I see that if determined you can become talented in anything you want and gifts are things that come more naturally. We loved the video of Grant, I had no idea he could do that!!!

The Monkey Mama said...

Thank you for this reminder to look at the special talents that our little people have.
My youngest has a talent for humor and keeps us all laughing all the time. It's a joy.
I believe that my oldest will have talents in scholastic endeavors.

John and Laura said...

I like how you said, "Choose a talent, any talent, if you will – then go for it" Very wise advice. For us as well as for our kids. Thanks. :)

Happy Mom said...

I know I'm a Johny-come-lately to this post, but since I've just discovered your blog, I'm going to comment when I feel like it, even knowing you may never read them!

I like the concept that we can choose our talents, master them and use them to bless the lives of others. It's such an interesting roll, helping our children find the things that they are passionate about. Some of mine have been go-getters, charging ahead and finding their own way, while others are content to simply sit and need lots of encouragement to get them engaged in good works.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! Interesting that you should point me to this post. I actually watched the video's earlier today, but hadn't read the post. He's AMAZING!!! My children were simply enthralled!

I'm looking forward to following your blog!