I remember the day pretty well. I had a letter to take home from school. I was probably 10 to 12 years old. Usually a letter from school was a bad thing in those days, but this one had me beaming with pride. I had been selected to be in an elective program for gifted students. I had all kinds of ideas, but in truth, I ended up doing nothing with it. It was kind of a combination between childish dreams, being a human target in school and the fact that all I really wanted to do even then was be an artist/creative, which really didn’t fit the mold of being academically gifted, at least by my school’s definition.

Fast forward a couple decades though and I was struck with a revelation. Everybody’s gifted. Everybody, every single person, is gifted. The problem is our definition of gifted is too limited. Gifted is not always about the way you write a paper or solve an equation or the grades you get on a test. Gifted implies a gift. Something you come by naturally, something in your DNA, or, dare I say, your design. There is truly something that every person, every single person, has, that can help to make the world a better place. Everyone has something to offer. EVERYONE!

Now I know what you might be thinking, this is another manifestation of the “everybody gets a trophy” mindset. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or maybe you’re thinking labeling everyone gifted somehow cheapens the designation. Not at all. I maintain that we have defined “gifted” too narrowly. Gifted is more than a grade on a standardized test, and besides, since when has any human being been “standard.” There is a uniqueness to every human being. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has the potential to do something great. Everybody’s gifted. EVERYBODY!

Case in point, I just spent a week at one of my favorite places, a camp for adults with special needs, and by the way we all have “special needs” we need a better term here. A lot of these folks would have trouble with a standardized test, and not many would move that needle to gifted. Pity because each of them is a gift. I see in them an authenticity most of the world is lacking. Last night was our last night of camp for the year, and as such several of the campers were emotional. In most of the world, everyone would just stand around awkwardly, embarrassed at an emotional display. Not my campers, they embraced their crying friend until the tears dissipated. Friend that is a gift, and not a small one. This idea of everybody being gifted has been floating around in my mind for a while. Last night brought it into focus. I don’t know what this thing will become, I just know it’s time.

Everybody’s gifted. And yes, that includes you!

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