Sunday, January 23, 2011

On being talented

I've talked about my Sunday School class before, and even wrote a whole post about our talents, but today's lesson got me thinking more about a line in that lesson's materials. Tucked in the third or fourth page of that lesson was the reminder that talents aren't always positive things. Talents are gifts from a loving God, and sometimes, the things that we think of as negative traits are just talents waiting to be cultivated, nurtured, or worked on.

Today, I (and other adults!) took my class, along with other members of our Rite 13 (fifth-seventh grade) and YAC (tenth-twelth grade) classes snowtubing at a ski resort ("resort" is probably stretching it, but I've no idea what to call it). During the first lesson on, and subsequent conversations about, our talents, I shared that line with my class. I shared with them how I'm a bit of a control freak, and how that trait extends so far that it makes me afraid to fly or go on some fair rides (like ferris wheels). It's not a fear of heights mind you--I love to rappel and, once I had surveyed the situation, was fine standing at the edge of the Space Needle and against the window of the Sears Tower (the elevator rides to the top of those structures was a whole different story). I just don't like feeling bumps and jumps and not knowing why they happen. I spend entire flights explaining to myself why turbulance happens; I practically prevent J from breathing on a ferris wheel for fear of causing the seat to sway in an unexpected manner.

Likewise, while I don't necessary like to be in charge at work or in organizations to which I belong, I like to have good relationships with those who are. It gives me insight into the 'why' behind organizational change that might affect me. The information I can obtain gives me a sense of control.

In the case of planes and ferris wheels (and ski lifts, which I was secretly grateful I didn't have to navigate today), I work hard not to let the fear take over. In this case, rather than letting the trait of fear persist as a negative trait, I can instead focus on developing bravery, creating coping mechanisms, cultivating persistence--all generally considered positive traits, traits more commonly associated with talents in the traditional sense of the word.

In the case of organizational control, I don't have any idea what to do. At it's root, the same fear of a lack of control is at work, but unlike flying, this case involves other people, relationships. How do you let go of control in a relationship? I don't doubt that I have the ability to address this, but I don't know which traits to cultivate, which to nurture...

So what do you think? Any thoughts or observations?

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