A Particular Set of Skills
I love the movie “Taken”. Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills’ daughter has been kidnapped. He contacts the kidnappers and authoritatively says, “I possess a particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career.” During our lifetimes we should also be honing our skills. Each person is endowed with a particular set of skills. It’s part of what makes us unique. God took time to create individuals for a specific purpose. Unless we know that purpose, we can spend a lifetime honing skills that will bring lots of money, but very little fulfillment.
Our western culture lead us to believe there are an elite, few, chosen leaders. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson debated the idea of a Natural Aristocracy. These are people who were born with talents that set them above the rest. The others, who had less talents, were meant to be followers. W.E.B. DuBois’ expressed a similar ideology with the “Talented Tenth”. His essay begins “The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.” Shortly after birth, we begin to take babies through a battery of test in order to find the special ones. We then develop a plan that allows them to develop their God-given talents. By the time they reach pre-school, they are exposed to the latest technology, the newest learning techniques, along with trainers who specialize in developing champions in sports. Also prior to preschool, the parents have frantically made contact with all the right people to ensure Lord Johnny and Princess Anna are accepted into Best and Brightest Academy.
A glaring flaw with this way of thinking is many children don’t fit the criteria for being “talented”. They are seen as less than perfect. Adults look at them with condescending eyes and say “It’s okay baby, you’re special too”. However, the word special takes on a different meaning. For the less than talented, it means we’ll see if you can play sports. If you’re not good at sports, then we’ll give you a different battery of tests to find a skill so you can make a living. In other words, we’ll prepare you to work for or entertain the talented ones.
What would happen if we ditched that way of thinking and looked at each child as “possessing a particular set of skills”. Instead of the ‘talented tenth”, we take time with each child. We help them discover their purpose. As they become older, they can develop those skills and become experts in their field. This concept may be hard to accept because we’ve been conditioned to believe that some people were created to only survive. I don’t accept that way of thinking. Genesis 1:26 says God made man in His image and in His likeness. Last I checked, God is not in survival mode. Everyone has a “particular set of skills”. Those skills were placed there for a specific purpose. It is our responsibility to perfect those skills. As with Bryan Mills, someone is relying on our skills to take them out of a terrible situation.