...Discovering & Developing Your Child's Talents
Stewardship versus ownership. Perhaps at first glance these words seem similar. Upon looking deeper, however, a vast difference opens up. We understand ownership—an owner has the authority to say what should happen to their property, money or possessions. It is their unique right as an owner to use them in any way they choose.

Not so with stewardship. A steward is someone who manages something that is not their own. They are given the responsibility to care for something on behalf of the owner, but has no say in how that owner may choose to use that which is under the stewardcare.

As parents, we need to be vitally aware that our role in our children's lives is the role of a steward—not an owner. God has entrusted His children to our care. Yet how subtly an attitude of ownership can creep in. We may begin to feel like "These are my children and they will do and be as I think they should." If we're not careful, we can lose sight of the child as a person created by and belonging to the Lord, and begin to view him as an extension of ourselves as parents, an expression of ourselves for all the world to see and marvel at what we are creating.

When viewed through the lens filter of stewardship though, our function as parents takes on added dimension. As stewards, we need to seek the Owner's thoughts and intentions for each child He has put under our care. What giftings has He given each child? What works does He want them equipped to perform—works He foreordained that they would walk in before the foundation of the world (Eph. 2:10)?

For me that is a sobering thought. Suddenly it's not all about having a crew of well-behaved kids that make me look good. It's about doing all the Lord asks me to do on His behalf—much like the ministry of John the Baptist—raising up the low places and leveling the mountains in my children's lives so that His way is made plain. It's about one day handing over to the Owner that which He entrusted to me and being able to hear His "well done."

There are many aspects of stewardship as parents, but what I want to focus on is the area of nourishing and encouraging the giftings the Lord has given each child for His purposes. Too many children grow to adulthood without gaining expertise and confidence in at least one area that God has designed them for—and if that happens, we as stewards have not done part of our job, and are in danger of falling into the category of the servant who buried the talent he was entrusted with.

We have been given the privilege of preparing these children to be able to step into their adult roles in the Kingdom of God, and that is not something to treat lightly. It is a huge responsibility the Lord has given—yet also one that promises great reward for us, as well as for His kingdom, if we are faithful in this feature of our stewardship.

So how do we do that? How can we facilitate this aspect of God's will for our children and help prepare them for what He has called them to do in life? How do we uncover and encourage them in their area(s) of gifting?

Prayer paves the way for this. The Lord can show us what He has created in our child. With some children, gifts are easy to see. In fact, multiple giftings may be readily identifiable. The difficulty may be in narrowing it down to one or two specific areas. In others, talents are less obvious and you may have to dig. But one thing is certain, somewhere within each person is a unique expression of the Lord's creativity—a gifting waiting to blossom.

If you have a child whose bent is not readily identifiable, don't be discouraged. It may take some time to draw him out. Listen to what excites him. Brainstorm with him about his interests. Pray with him that the Lord would open up the area He has instilled deep within.