My sister is the administrator of a small Christian school, and this week she’ll be speaking at the graduation ceremony for the seniors. When she told me about her speech, I just sat there, more than a little stunned. She had decided to tell the students that they can’t be anything they want to be.
“What?” I said.
“You can’t. People always tell you that you can, but it’s not true. I took piano lessons for years, but I still can’t play it well.”
“But,” I said, “if you spent most of your time practicing, you’d be really good.”
“I might play it better than I do now, but I’ll never be great at it. It’s not my gift. It’s not what I was designed to do.”
Now I understood what she was saying. I have always wanted to be a singer, but as of right now, I can’t match a pitch, and I struggle to find the right key. While I would love to take singing lessons someday to hopefully improve, I know I won’t ever be a great singer. It’s not what I was created for.
This isn’t to say that we can’t try new things. If I worked on my singing all day, every day, I might work up to be an adequate singer, or maybe even a good one. But it would take a lot of effort just to get to that point.
But, if I were to concentrate on my strengths instead, I can be better than good – I can be excellent. I may only be an average cook (sorry, Dear), but I can be an excellent artist; I may only be an average seamstress, but I can be an excellent writer; I may only be an average gardener, but I can be an excellent teacher. I can be excellent in those things God has called me to be.
So maybe she’s right – instead of telling our children they can be anything they want to be, perhaps we should be telling them they were made to be excellent at something, and then help them discover just what that something is.