A few days ago, I was helping the girls clean up the play room, and I came across a favorite book of mine, You Are Special, by Max Lucado. I started thinking about the message of the story, and reflecting on the many times I felt unimportant, growing up. My parents treated me wonderfully, but internally I had myself convinced that I was just not that special. I would look around me and see kids with fabulous talents…great soccer players, awesome singers, amazing dancers, superstar personalities…then I would look at myself and think that my talents were pretty non-existent, or lame. I could play the piano, but big deal…so could everyone else, and their dog…so, it seemed. My creative writing projects would win awards, but that was nerdy…so, it seemed. I never had the swanky name-brand clothing, and up through junior high, I was painfully shy. I just really wasn’t that cool, ya know? There was nothing about me that stood out…except my big hair.
It probably wasn’t until I got married, and had my first baby that I started to really appreciate who I am. After my first child, I started staying at home, and I got a little…bored. So, one day I made a list of everything that I would like to ‘try my hand’ at, in an effort to discover new talents….raising house plants, making mosaics, cooking, photography, golf, volleyball, jewelry making, crafting, and so on. I had a page filled up, both sides, with hobbies that interested me. And, I started checking things off the list, one by one. From that experience, I found so many new things that I love, and some that I actually think I’m kinda good at.
But, not only that…age has taught me that there are some talents and gifts that aren’t as noticed or appreciated, but are incredibly valuable…actually, more valuable. It’s fun to be talented at the most visible things, receive praise, awards, and respect. But, there’s more out there to consider.
Being a great friend
Having compassion for others
Being generous with your time
Giving service and money to others, happily
Being a great listener
Quick to forgive
Inspiring others to live their best lives
Being a great mother
Being a loving wife
All of those things are talents too, or maybe they could be referred to as traits. Some of them come naturally to people, but like all talents, they need the proper attention to be strong. Those are the kinds of talents that I hope to excel at and give priority to. And, after that…I want some mad photography skills, to be able to frost a super cute birthday cake, and grow a vegetable garden.
I believe that we all have talents and gifts, waiting to be discovered. We are all special and have something to offer the world. It’s just a matter of discovering and cultivating. We should all know that we are special.
So, now that I’m done blabbing, I’ll get to my point. In remembering how I felt, growing up, I would like my children to feel different. I want each one of them to realize that some talents and gifts are visible, while others are not. Also, it is not possible for them to discover all of their talents while they are young. It comes with time and effort. But, overall to rest assured, they are special.
That brings me back to Family Night. What is Family Night?? Family Night is a designated night, once a week (if you can), where you sit down with your family…have a lesson, an activity, and a treat. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and teach your children about the MOST important things in life; things they don’t learn in school.
You Are Special, by Max Lucado tells the story of a world, filled with wooden people, carved by a carpenter, Eli, in his workshop. The wooden people, called the Wemmicks, became very consumed with who was special and who wasn’t. They would go around giving golden star stickers to those who had fabulous talents and gray dot stickers to those who were plain, boring, and super uncool. Punchinello was covered in gray dots, and believed right along with the other Wemmicks, that he was unimportant. Until he met a gal who had no stickers on her. Puzzled, he asked why and she replied that they didn’t stick. She understood where she came from and that her maker loved her. She didn’t need the validation from the other Wemmicks. Anyway, Punchinello learns a valuable lesson from her, draws closer to his maker, and the rest is history. His dots start to fall off.
Pre-Lesson Activity – Sticker Tag. Give everyone a sheet of star stickers. At the count of 3, everyone has to chase each other, trying to stick their star stickers on the other players. The first person to get rid of all their stickers wins.
Lesson – Bring everyone back to sit down and read the story, You Are Special. Afterwards, talk to them about how you know that each of them are special. They need to put effort into discovering themselves and to use their talents and gifts to benefit the world. Explain that some talents will be undiscovered for years and years. But, when the time is right, and they put forth the effort, they will find many more things that make them special. Remind them that the most important talents often go unnoticed, and how it is important to cultivate those and give them priority. The world will praise some talents, more than others, but that is in no way a reflection of their importance to you and to God. They don’t need the world’s “star stickers” to know that they are special.
Optional Activity for Older Kids – Hand everyone a pen and paper, have them spend a few minutes making a list of potential talents that they are interested in. Ask them to also include some of the “extra important” talents (traits), as well (i.e. being charitable, being helpful, and so on.) Encourage them to keep their list in a special place, and make the time to discover new talents, develop ones they already have and cultivate important character traits.
Treat – Hmmm…maybe these super easy Buttermint Oreo Ice Cream Bars,
or maybe Dan’s (the hubs) favorite chewy treat, Death by Special K.
Have fun! If you have any fun additions, let me know. I think we’ll be doing this for our next Family Night.
Need more ideas for Family Night? Check out some of these past posts: