The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

I saw the results of a new survey that found that kids will watch a favorite movie on average 244 times. It certainly feels like we are well on our way to that number of viewings of Encanto, one of the more recent releases from Disney.

Which isn’t an entirely bad thing. In addition to some great songs written by Lin Manuel Miranda, it’s a really compelling story about a family of gifted individuals. It’s centered around the story told by the grandmother that they were granted a miracle which has manifested through a candle that always burns, a magical house where they all live and gifts that they are bestowed at a certain age.

One makes food that heals other people, another controls the weather, one sister is incredibly strong while the other sister is beautiful and graceful. But the character at the center of the movie didn’t get a gift when it was her turn.

My 6-year-old daughter and I have had great conversations about the premise of the movie. About what it would feel like to be the one person in a family of talented people who didn’t get her gift. And also does everyone in this world get a gift? Finally, a lot of discussion of that fact that most gifts are given over time, not at a ceremony at age 7, 8 or 9 but through a lot of hard work and practice.

But it certainly has made me think of my own gifts – whether I can recognize them or even value them. I grew up with a natural talent for mathematics. I never thought you had to take notes in a math class because it always just made sense to me and that carried all the way through all the upper level math I took in college.

However I’m not all that crazy about that gift now. 😊 What’s the practical application of that? In fact, it wasn’t until Swinged Cat admitted that he sees in rhyme that I remembered my gift. Sure it was the foundation of my computer consulting career that now supports my family but it isn’t all that warm and sexy.

But I have some traits that I’ve worked hard to develop. I’m a good and empathetic listener. Hiking, mountain climbing and parenting have helped me build a lot of endurance. Meditation has given me the gift of patience and calm. Do any of those things I cultivated count?

Here’s where I came down on this when talking to my daughter:

Some gifts are natural and others you will have to work harder for.

We will only see the gifts we’ve been given if we have the confidence to look and the commitment to grow them.

Whatever they are, when we use those gifts on behalf of other people it makes them matter the most.

When we can combine our gifts with the direction of the Divine, it magnifies their usefulness many times over.

My mathematical brain tells me we have about 111 more times watching Encanto to go. There are many more thought-provoking themes like being authentic, family pressure and being more than your gift so for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’d say it’s worth watching at least once.

How about you? What are your gifts?

(featured photo from Pexels)

23 thoughts on “Gifts

  1. I suppose that even gifts can have a time and a season where they are used and are beneficial! I know some of mine lay dormant for years, only to resurface in new ways down the road!

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  2. I like this discussion of gifts and Encanto. We are enchanted by the movie as well. Our teen is listening to the playlist daily. I think Mirabel from the movie has a gift from the start – her important talent for keeping the family together – but it takes a crisis for it to flower. I was taught that talking about my gifts was the same as bragging, so I would share them with difficulty. However, people have recognized communication, social cohesion, and hospitality as fortes of mine. Thanks for this discussion,

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    1. Great point about Mirabel’s gift. She definitely had the talent of making people feel like they could be authentic, didn’t she?

      I was taught the same thing about bragging and gifts and find that same hesitancy even as I typed this post. But however we discover and claim them, I think communication, social cohesion and hospitality are wonderful gifts that create warmth and love!! Thanks, Rebecca!

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  3. I haven’t seen Encanto yet, but my family are constantly singing the songs. The theme of being born into a family where everyone has gifts but me hits home. We had artists and musicians, and even a fashion model, but I could do none of those things. I still struggle to identify a gift, but will concede I have some strengths. Good mother/ daughter talk. I’ll have to watch this movie!

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    1. Oh what an interesting comment, VJ! It’s so hard to own our gifts, especially when others have more visible ones! But I loved your essay on Navigating the Change and inspiring others, authenticity and wisdom clearly have to be some of yours. Hope you enjoy the movie when you see it!

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  4. I think most people have at least one gift, although it’s often hard or maybe even discouraged by others to recognize them. I also don’t think they have to be huge or extremely unique or special. Maybe that’s why gifts often go unrecognized even by the ones who possess them.

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head that we are discouraged by others to recognize them so sometimes they go unrecognized. It’s hard for me to even name mine because humility was such a strong practice in my family growing up. I think truth-telling must be one of your gifts, Deb!

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    1. Oh, great storytelling! Yes, that’s an awesome gift. And one I think you were favored with!

      I think one of my daughter’s gifts might turn out the ability to talk. 🙂 It’s really fun to dive into things with her.

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  5. Beautiful post Wynne! As always. The first point,that you and your daughter have in-depth conversations about the themes presented in movies is truly fabulous and a blessing to her.
    Your thoughts on gifts, provided to us through our DNA or through the divine are accurate. They come in their own timing and we have to recognize them and help them thrive. Taking for example the music in the movie from the great composer Miranda, how his work has touched others. That is a gift.
    And by the way, I share your love of math as well. You may think it’s useless, but it encompasses everything in our universe, including our gifts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, another math person! Yay! You are right, math is elemental and I do still love it. In fact, my daughter loves math so I tell her that all the time.

      Thank you for your insightful comment about gifts. You are right, Miranda’s work has touched so many others and is a wonderful gift. May we continue to discover and own our gifts! ❤

      I love talking with my daughter about these themes and ideas. I think one of her gifts might be talking 🙂 and it's fun to engage with her! Thank you contributing your many gifts to our lives with your comments!

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  6. Encanto is a lovely movie. We watched it in the theatre in December and the scene near the end at the river with the grandmother and Mirabel just made me bawl in the theatre. It was so embarrassing. 😂😂😂

    The message about gifts is a wonderful one, especially for the character who perceives to have no given gift and yet she was the one that brought the family together at the end.

    It’s wonderful you had this discussion with your daughter about gifts. And I agree that a gift is only as good as the effort you put into further cultivating and growing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You saw it in the movie theater?? That is awesome! I love that song at the end during the scene you describe “Dos Origuitas.” It is so beautiful and touches me deeply since Abuela was a single parent. Now I’m crying… 🙂 ❤

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  7. I know that I should be thinking about gifts, but I am out of my mind excited to learn that there is a new Disney musical! I had not heard of (or seen) Encanto and that will be remedied this evening. I LOVE Lin-Manual Miranda…such a talented man…talk about gifts! Thank you for sharing this, Wynne 🙂

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