For Homes and Classrooms


Every child is “gifted and talented.”

Every child has the potential to thrive and make a contribution in the community, in the world.

While every child may not excel in athletic skill, artistic expression, or academic performance, every child does posses the inner resources of strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.

When these qualities are recognized and cultivated in a child, the result is a deepening of respect for self and others along with an increase of personal responsibility.

With an investment of just a few minutes a day, children, as well as their parents and teachers, can be energized, encouraged, and empowered in ways that are FUN!

Let’s make every day a Twelve Gifts Discovery Day. How?
To start, consider these “ways to be” and “things to do” with the children in our lives:


Say “I love you.”

Smile often.

Respond, don’t react. 

Catch your child “doing good.”

Praise the gifts you see being used.

Make lemonade (literally and figuratively).

Try 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. (A great way to model reverence for life)

Acknowledge growth.

Find hidden beauty.

Encourage the expression of feelings.




Explore outside the box.

Allow mess.

Teach the basics.

Aim for excellence instead of perfection.

Focus on “talentry” instead of just the typical talents.

Use everything for learning.

Play music.

Make music.

Read books that demonstrate the gifts in action. (See the start of a recommended list under “Tips & Tools.)

Tell your own touchstone stories.

Go green.


Expect the best.

Accept what is.

Fly kites.

Feed birds.

Establish rituals.

Welcome change.

Collect symbols.

Star watch.

Soul gaze.

More to come! More will include additional approaches like the ones above as well as further explanation and real life examples, like this one:


Make Lemonade? 


“When I was 13, life was handing me lemons by the bushel! In junior high school, besides braces on my teeth, I needed to wear a Milwaukee brace on my back. Imagine: a fitted plastic girdle around my waist with three metal poles extending out the top, two running up either side of my spine and one running up along my sternum, meeting at a metal collar around my neck! Phoenix is hot enough as it is, but trying to run around and be a kid with sticky, sweaty, plastic girdle from tailbone to bellybutton is next to unbearable! The best of my classmates kept on like nothing had changed; but some stared and called me names. I tried to make light of it and “make lemonade,” as my mom recommended, by appreciating that my back and my teeth were getting straightened out at the same time and for the rest of my life. And, I was learning about true friendship.


“But one weekend, I slipped into lamenting about the trials and tribulations of attending junior high as a mutant teenager. Just like my mom, my grandma Bobbie advised, ‘Remember, Rachel. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’


“I’ve had enough lemonade, Grandma!” I curtly responded. “But then I softened and got an idea. “I’m making lemon meringue pie!”


“Great idea, Rachel! Let’s!” Grandma smiled.


“Since then, when life brings lemons into our family, we might make lemonade. Or, we might make pie!”



Rachel Alter
Scottsdale, AZ