We are given talents and gifts to help us fulfill our missions on this earth and to help us bless the lives of others. We have a responsibility to Heavenly Father, to ourselves, and to others to develop our talents and gifts as completely as we can. The development of talents and gifts requires persistence, courage, and patience, but brings great joy.
IDEAS FOR LESSONS
Lesson 1: The Importance of Developing Talents and Gifts
Read or tell the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14–30.
The word talent in this parable means a piece of money. Discuss the fact that abilities are given to us by the Lord much as the money was given to each of the three servants in the parable. We each have the responsibility for developing our own abilities. Have each family member tell what his or her best talent or gift is, and then invite other family members to comment.
If older children have had patriarchal blessings that declare their gifts and talents, they may want to share these. Encourage family members to search for talents they would like to develop. Invite them to suggest ways they can help one another fulfill the responsibility of developing their talents and gifts.
Lesson 2: Talents and Gifts Are Given to Us to Bless Others
Before family home evening, ask each family member to be prepared to tell about someone who blessed his life by sharing his gifts and talents. Ask family members to report at the beginning of family home evening. Discuss how your family’s talents and gifts could be used to help a friend or neighbor. Create a workable plan and carry it out.
Challenge each family member to watch for opportunities to use his or her talents and gifts to bless another family member.
Lesson 3: Developing Talents and Gifts Requires Time and Patience
Show a picture of each parent as a tiny baby. Discuss whether or not these babies had talents and gifts. Have each parent then demonstrate a talent or gift he or she has worked hard to develop, and tell of the time and effort involved. Show pictures of each child as a baby, and ask these questions:
What talents and gifts did you have as babies?
What talents did you demonstrate at a young age?
What talents and gifts have you developed?
What talents and gifts would you like to develop this year? In ten years?
Discuss specific steps each person can take to develop his or her talents and gifts.
Lesson 4: Discovering and Developing Talents and Gifts
Note to Parents: Give constant, positive support to family members as they develop their talents and gifts. Make lessons, books, and other resources available as you can. Attend school and Church performances as a family. Give special recognition for talks, performances, or other displays of talent by having special days or meals in which the performer gets a special treatment for one day or his favorite meal for dinner.
Plan family activities that will help family members discover new talents and develop old ones. Be creative in involving family talents in every family home evening and gathering. Act out stories; let everyone lead the singing; recognize special achievement. Set the example by developing your own talents.
Build a family home evening around the following ideas:
Plan an art outing and spend an hour sketching details of nature or buildings.
Design your dream house.
Plan a family talent show.
Carve soap animals.
Write essays, short stories, or poems.
Invite the children to plan and present a play to parents and grandparents. Offer to help write the script or make costumes.
Play with clay.
Write a family song.
Organize a family band with simple instruments like harmonicas, wooden recorders, or kitchen utensils. Learn one or two fun songs, and practice until you enjoy playing them as a family.
Build a tree house or playhouse.
Spend an evening teaching your children dances from your youth.
Have a cupcake-or cookie-decorating contest.
Do something new!
Lesson 5: Overcoming a Handicap or Fear That Prevents Us from Developing or Using Our Talents
Relate a personal experience of how you developed a talent despite a weakness or fear, or tell an inspiring story about someone who overcame a handicap to develop a talent.
Read Ether 12:27. Ask family members to write down one talent they are afraid to develop or a handicap they would like to overcome. Let other family members discuss how they can help that person develop that talent.
Ask each person to list specific steps he will take to develop that talent during the week. Report on the progress at the next family home evening.
Luke 12:48 (Where much is given, much is expected.)
1 Timothy 4:14 (Neglect not the gift within you.)
2 Nephi 2:27 (Man is given all things he needs.)
Moroni 10:8–18 (Every gift comes from Christ.)
Doctrine and Covenants 6:11 (Use gifts to teach the gospel.)
Doctrine and Covenants 46:8–12 (Every person has a gift.)
Doctrine and Covenants 60:2–3 (It is wrong to hide talents.)
Doctrine and Covenants 82:18 (Talents increase when used to serve.)
See also “Talents” in the Topical Guide.