Reading to NewbornAll children are born “gifted and talented.” While every child may not excel in athletic skill, artistic expression, or academic performance, every child does possess the resources of inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.




Poets, prophets, and philosophers have, for centuries, been pointing the way to true prosperity and successful living by using our inner gifts. We hear this wisdom in all of the world’s religions. We can even find guidance in fables and folk tales.




Consider the classic Sleeping Beauty story, for example. The princess, named Beauty, pricks her finger on a poisoned spinning wheel needle. The wound results in her falling into a deep sleep. The only thing that can awaken Beauty is true love. Like that princess, as young children we grasp our magnificence. We are in touch with beauty, joy, and courage. Imagination flourishes in us. Over time, we are wounded. Life’s hurts dull us and numb our awareness. But we too can awaken with true, unconditional love.




No matter how much we love the children in our lives and how hard we try to protect them, we can’t prevent hurts from happening. It’s part of the human experience. Even Sleeping Beauty’s father, a powerful king, could not prevent his beloved daughter from being wounded–though he tried by having all the spinning wheels in the kingdom destroyed.




Heading into the dayWe can, however, minimize the woundings done to each child’s spirit. We can “keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,” as Rachel Carson urges us to do, by “rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”



Let’s aim to be more and more conscious and caring in the way we parent, grandparent, and raise the children in our lives. Let’s find ways to nurture the gifts in children (and in ourselves).





As “Nana” to two-year-old twins and a woman aiming to awaken, here’s the start of my list:



Say “I love you.


Smile often.


Respond, don’t react.


Catch children (and ourselves) “doing good.


Praise the gifts we see being used.


Play Pollyanna’s “Glad Game.”


Ask, “What do you think?”


Listen fully.


Speak the truth.


Admit mistakes.


Cultivate caring and being of service.


Rescue bugs instead of crushing them.


Acknowledge growth.


Appreciate curiosity.Curiosity


Find hidden beauty.


Encourage the expression of feelings.








Explore outside the box.


Allow mess.


Teach the basics.


Aim for excellence rather than perfection.


Focus on “talentry” instead of typical talents.


Use everything for learning.


Read books that demonstrate life’s gifts.


Tell personal stories.


Expect the best.


Accept what is.


Fly kites.


Feed birds.


Establish rituals.


Welcome change.


Count blessings.


Star watch.


Soul gaze.

Let’s share additional ways to nurture life’s gifts in our children and ourselves. More to come!

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