In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey writes, ”When you can give yourself to work that brings together a need, your talents and your passion, power will be unlocked.”
The bluntness of that statement knocks the breath out of me, because isn’t that what every one of us is looking for?
We spend our youth trying to discover our talents and our passion in life. If we are lucky enough to find and understand our gifts and enthusiasm, our next challenge is to find people who need our talents and passion. At the moment the third cherry, others’ needs, comes round on the slot machine of life, we hit the jackpot.
At that juncture, if we will act with courage to fill the need we see, we gain the power to create.
When passion, talent and need come together, we have the motivation and the energy and the desire to learn skills that match our talent and passion.
Our job as parents and as teachers is to help our children uncover their talents and passion. When our children realize the world’s needs, large or small, we can be confident that they will respond with ability.
Don’t we enjoy doing business with the bookstore clerk who loves literature, the coffee shop owner who is passionate about roasting beans and the bike shop where designing your perfect bike is tantamount? Need, talent and passion have created power.
Seven-year-old Tyrone had difficulty reading and doing math, but Tyrone arrived at school everyday with a smile on his face, ready to be with his friends and to learn something new.
Tyrone knew everybody’s lunchbox, coat, gloves, mitten, scarves, notebooks, dogs’ names, date of birth–you name it. But 7 + 2? Forget about it.
Tyrone’s classroom had an outdoor fishpond that required regular upkeep. The pH needed to be tested, leaves removed, lilies fertilized, fish fed, breathing holes chopped into the ice, and other pond-keeping chores. Tyrone volunteered to care for the pond on weekends and vacations. If Tyrone was ill, he asked for a classmate to check on ”his” fish.
Tyrone was passionate about the fish, and he wanted to make sure they had everything they needed to live. Though Tyrone struggled to read, he pored over articles on how to take care of the fish and how to test the hydrogen levels in the pond. Tyrone charted the chemical readings with decimal numbers even though he could barely add two plus two. Visitors to the classroom were offered a tour of the fishpond, with Tyrone proudly telling about the life cycle of fish and the eco-dynamics (his word) of a small pond.
Tyrone’s talent and passion for caring about living things, when added to the needs of the pond, unleashed a power in him to learn what some might have thought impossible for a seven-year-old with learning challenges.
Let’s help our children find their passion and develop their talents. The world needs their gifts and enthusiasm.