The importance of developing your talents

CARTER HALL — What talents do you have? What resources are at your disposal? Everyone has skills, talents and abilities they can utilize.

My Dad read me a story of three boys who taught me about the importance of recognizing and using the gifts we are given.

Three young boys had a grandfather who was going away on a trip to Europe for a few weeks. He gave his grandsons $10, $20 and $30 respectively.

After he left, the boy who was given $30 used half of his money to buy a rake. He then went house-to-house in his neighborhood and helped several old ladies rake their yards. All the old ladies lived alone and could not do much yard work themselves. He ended up earning $30, doubling what his grandpa had given him.

The boy who was given $20 bought a sponge, soap and bucket. He then offered to wash cars for his parents, and a man who lived up the street that owned a small car collection. He made $20, also doubling what his grandpa had given him.

The boy who was given $10 was afraid of losing the money his grandpa had given him. So he hid the money away safe in his bedroom.

When the boys’ grandpa returned, he asked the boys what they had done with the money he had given them.

The boys who were given $30 and $20 both told their grandpa about how they had used their money to help them increase what they had. He was very impressed and congratulated them on their work-ethic and ingenuity.

The third grandson ran up to his room, grabbed the $10 from under his bed and then brought it back down to show his grandpa he still had the money. The grandpa asked him what he had done with the money, and he told him he had made sure to keep it safe in his room.

The grandpa scolded the boy and said that he was disappointed. He told him that he wasn’t being responsible by just stashing away the money, but that he had given into fear by not wanting to lose it.

Our gifts can be monetary or in our personal abilities. The lesson I learned from this story is that we all possess some resources or talents and that we shouldn’t waste the gifts we are given. Investing our time or resources in something does admittedly expose you to some risk, but there is no risk-free way to make it through life. Instead of letting fear limit what you can do, it’s better to make use of your talents and resources, so that you can thrive and grow.

If this story sounds familiar that is unsurprising. Depending on your background you may already know this story, but I changed some of the details. This is a version of a parable Jesus taught his disciples in the book of Matthew. His story had a rich man give varying amounts of “talents” (money) to three of his servants. When the man returned and one of his servants did nothing with the talents but bury them to keep them safe, and his master was much less forgiving than the grandpa I depicted. He called his servant a wicked and slothful man. At the very least he should have given the money to bankers so it would have earned interest.

It’s a real shame to waste “talents”, whether that refers to money or to skills and abilities. If you take this as either fiscal or philosophical advice, the lesson of not wasting your talents, in whatever form they take, is an important one to remember.

Carter Hall ‘21 is a financial economics major from Newark, Ohio.