Talentry: A New Word and New Approach for Recognizing Talent in Children and Adults

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Bestselling author, Charlene Costanzo, offers three ways to discover more talent in your child and you. According to Costanzo, an expanded view of talent can lead to greater self worth, improve learning and performance, and might even reduce bullying.

Talent Tree

A "TALENT TREE" for seeing "TALENTRY"

The idea is to fill in the branches, one-by-one, with aspects of a person’s own, unique talentry.

Bestselling author, Charlene Costanzo, offers three ways to discover more talent in your child and you. According to Costanzo, an expanded view of talent can lead to greater self worth, improve learning and performance, and might even reduce bullying.

“We need an expansive, new way of looking at talent,” says author, Charlene Costanzo. “Too many adults and children hold a limited and limiting definition of talent, believing talent to mean only exemplary skill in art, athletics and academics. This narrow understanding can restrict learning ability, performance, and happiness in all aspects of life.”

Costanzo’s assertion is based on more than ten years of work experience with children and adults, starting with a one-year book tour throughout America. During 1999-2000, Costanzo visited classrooms in a variety of school settings. In inner city, suburban, and rural locales, she read her bestselling book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth. She then engaged children in discussion about their inner resources of strength, compassion, beauty, and other human capacities, including the gift of talent.

“Everywhere I went, I asked children to tell me about their gift of talent,” says Costanzo. “In every classroom, hands shot up, and I got answers like, ‘I can draw. I can sing. I’m good at baseball. I’m good at swimming. I’m good at math. I’m good at spelling.’ Also, in nearly every classroom, there were a few students who hesitated to name a talent or did not did claim one at all.”

To stretch understanding of talent, the author then asked the children, “What do you love to do? What makes you happy?”

Then, every child showed eagerness and enthusiasm, according to Costanzo, and she heard answers like, “I’m good at taking care of my baby brother; I can make people laugh; I’m good at putting puzzles together; I like to look at the stars; I know sign language; I love my dog; I can twirl my tongue; I can put my legs behind my head!”

According to Costanzo, these answers demonstrate what can happen when talent is approached in a broader way. When asked about likes and abilities, children begin to see talent in a broader way, and they see themselves as “talented,” which often leads to an increased sense of value, self-worth, and potential for learning.

“Whenever I led this expanded activity, I observed what appeared to be heightened happiness and harmony in classrooms and a sense of respect for self and others," said Costanzo. "I saw kindness, enthusiasm, and helpfulness too. For example, sometimes children chimed in with what they saw as interests and abilities in one another as well as in themselves. That was very heartwarming to witness!”

Costanzo offers three ideas to help expand the limited, common view of talent:

1.    Start using a new word: Talentry. The word talent is well established in minds and throughout our culture as primarily related to the 3 A’s… academics, athletics, and the arts. It is easier to use a new word than to try to expand the meaning of an existing one. Talentry could be that word, meaning “the mix of abilities and interests that exist in any and every human’s makeup.”

2.    Make a "Talent Tree" to represent talentry. Start with a blank Talent Tree for yourself and one for each person doing this activity. You can draw your own tree with a simple trunk and straight lines for branches. Or, use the one provided. The idea is to fill in the branches, one-by-one, with aspects of a person’s own, unique talentry. Brainstorm. What comes easy? What brings joy? What do you love to do? What do you care about? These are the clues for finding aspects of one’s talentry. Note everything that comes up. Have fun with this. The purpose is to expand appreciation of an individual’s traits, not judge anything as “unimportant.” Nothing is too small in this quest.

3.    Fill in as many branches as you can. Then, be on the look-out. Make it a game to catch oneself and others “doing good” and enjoying it. Continue to add all those seemingly small qualities and interests to the Talent Tree. When you need more branches, add them! (Note: This can be a life-long quest. Over the years, new interests and abilities are likely to show up in every person.)

Costanzo’s mission is to help people of all ages and backgrounds to see that he or she is gifted with the inner natural resources of strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith. Through books, presentations, workshops, videos, and a free,on-line curriculum for parents and teachers, the author offers tools to help children and adults have ah-ha experiences of seeing these qualities in themselves and others.

In addition to classrooms, Costanzo presents The Twelve Gifts message to children and adults in churches, hospitals, shelters, churches, and prisons.

Charlene Costanzo is an author, motivational speaker, and workshop facilitator. Her Twelve Gifts series of books includes The Twelve Gifts of Birth, The Twelve Gifts for Healing, The Twelve Gifts in Marriage, and The Thirteenth Gift. She writes at http://www.charlenecostanzo.com .

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Charlene Costanzo
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