Did you see the images of the volcano erupting in Hawaii? There was one where at first glance it might look like a landslide, until you saw the steam rising from the “rock”. The black rock blocked the street, making it impossible to pass. Behind the initial rocks the scene changed completely. Fire balls of molten rock were being spit into the air like a popcorn popper. It was a surreal image showing the power of nature and felt like a long way from our fourth-grade baking soda volcano. Many outsiders may see this as a natural disaster where the destruction uncontrollable and devastating. The Hawaiian people have a different perspective. They see the lava flow as a gift that builds up and grows the size of their island.
Last night I watched a replay of Oprah’s 2018 commencement speech at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Her entire speech was filled with notable sound bites, but the one that jumped out at me was when she told the graduates to “use your gifts”.
Use. Your. Gifts. What does that mean to you? We live in a time where we are taught not to brag or be too self-centered, where instead we should be modest and humble. A time where we can be proud of our accomplishments, but not too proud. A time where we can strive for what we want, but not at the detriment of those around us who depend on us. So, while we strive to use our gifts, there are a lot of asterisks we have contend with.
Use. Your. Gifts.
It’s not lost on me that I am posting this blog on Mother’s Day when many of us are receiving gifts of some kind or another. Many of the gifts we receive are the adorable home-made kind that only a mother would value the same as gold. You may also receive another gift, maybe one you’ve been dropping hints about for weeks or maybe you even picked it out yourself. It’s ok, you earned it, you work hard for it day in and day out and you deserve to be recognized.
While external gifts are fun to receive, the gifts Oprah was referring to are the ones you already have. Your gifts could be a physical and revolve around your ability to do something. Or your gift could be a little more intangible and be found in your ability to listen and motivate people. Whatever your gift may be, the important thing is that you use it.
As mothers, we are challenged to use our gifts while managing and juggling everything else life brings us. I talk to many mothers who feel like they must put their own lives on hold to raise their children. It doesn’t have to be like that. You may not get to pursue everything you want to pursue in this moment, but that doesn’t mean you give up. Every day you can use and grow your gifts. Opportunities are everywhere if you keep your eyes open.
Normally a gift only benefits the person who receives it. However, when we use our gifts, we are energized. It awakens the flow within us. Our gifts are meant to be used. They are not meant to lie dormant within us waiting for the perfect time to come. There is no need to wait. When we use our gifts, we naturally share them with others and then they become a gift for everyone to enjoy.
Photo by Mandy Beerley on Unsplash
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.