As your children grow and begin to manifest the talents and gifts God has given them, it is a good practice to help them understand that they have been given these blessings to use to further the Kingdom of God. Not only is this a theologically accurate perspective, but it is a way to combat the natural tendency for us to become prideful in the abilities we have. Emphasizing that God intends us to use what He has given us (Matt. 25:14–30) for our good and His glory is a lesson that cannot be repeated too often. I self-consciously taught this to my children. Since each of them had different giftings, I did my best not to apply a cookie-cutter approach, but helped each individually identify how he or she could best use his or her God-given resources.
In the case of my youngest, her ability in music, specifically singing, manifested itself quite early. I love to recount the story when she was just over six months old, and heard my son practicing his Christmas recital piece, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. She began to hum the tune. Totally shocked, I looked at her and said, “Do that again!” as if to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke. Of course, she didn’t understand what I was saying, and I had to wait for the next time she imitated music that she heard.
Soon after we watched the movie Braveheart, when she was only about three years old, she was humming music that sounded very familiar. Turns out, she had remembered the music from the movie! So, early on I knew that in order to develop this gift, she needed the help of teachers who could do what I could not. Over the course of time, between learning piano and voice, she developed into a proficient musician. I even started a children’s choir once and hired a teacher who could handle the music end of things so that she would have a chance to further develop her performance skills. As a result, over the past nineteen years (she is now twenty-two), she has performed before firefighters in fire stations, staff and residents in nursing and retirement homes, for guests at weddings and memorial services, and as a soloist before congregations at a number of different churches. She has also recorded three CDs along with individual songs for commercial and private use.
Since the Christmas season has officially begun, I invite you to listen to her most recent CD recording, Christmas Presence, a joint collaboration with pianist and sound engineer, Eric Barlaan, and my daughter, Dorothy Schwartz, as the vocalist. As you enjoy it, which I believe you will, I encourage you to not only develop your own gifts to God’s glory, but be a significant encourager that your children do the same.