May 19, 2021
How to Identify Your Child's Gifts and Talents | S1 EP4

How can you help your child discover his or her God-Given gift? And hidden within that question is an even more difficult issue - deciding whether your child's desire to pursue a certain goal is simply a temporary interest, ...

How can you help your child discover his or her God-Given gift? 

And hidden within that question is an even more difficult issue - deciding whether your child's desire to pursue a certain goal  is simply a temporary interest, or a long term calling that will bring them life long significance and purpose. 

In this episode, Steve and Mary Alessi break down the specific steps they took to find their children’s gifting, and more importantly - how they helped their kids to recognize them and grow into them.

Through funny and poignant stories from their children’s early years, to the moments where their children's gifts were revealed in very special ways, you'll discover that unlocking your child's gifts is less about being observant, and more about being intentional,

Key Takeaways

  • Children have specific gifts, but parents must be careful not to assume their identity is based on their gifting. 
  • It’s important to know what your kids are good at, and also what they are not good at. 
  • By intentionally evaluating and talking about gifts with your kids, you can affirm them and help them appreciate their unique abilities.
  • It’s important to teach your kids the proper perspective about their gifts, and not promote them before the right time. 
  • By staying open to the possibilities, we can see how God will use our children and their gifts to bless others and live out the lives they are destined to live. 





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Steve Alessi  0:10 

All right, welcome to another one of our family business podcasts, where family is everybody's business. Mary and I are talking today about some things that we can't   always talk about on Sunday. And in particular, Mary, we want to kick this off talking about gifting,


Mary Alessi  0:27 



Steve Alessi  0:28 

with our kids and our family members that are in the home, and how we help our kids find what their unique gift is, their talent is that they would like to be able to walk into and use for their own direction in life, as the Bible tells us that we're to Train up a child in the way that they should go so that when they get older, they won't depart from it. So what are we doing to help our kids get trained, and what they're going to do the rest of their life. And then that means recognizing and then giving them an opportunity to use it. So in our sense, the ministry is the platform where we're able to see our kids' gifts being used. But let's talk about this for a minute. How do we recognize the gifts that are in our kids?


Mary Alessi  1:22 

I think some kids make that easy. They're naturally gifted to do one or more things, like saying, or they like to dance, and we think that they're gifting, especially when they're younger. And it's easy to think, oh, they have a propensity for this. They're a writer, or they really like school, and their gifting would be to be a teacher, or we look for the tangible things that manifest where you might have a child that doesn't do any of those things. And it doesn't mean they're any less gifted than a child who naturally moves in the direction of said gift. Right? So with our children, all of them could sing because we wanted them to have the gift of singing. We wanted them to be a part of our family and sing because we all sang


Steve Alessi  2:08 



Mary Alessi  2:08 

 but that didn't mean that all four of them would go into the music business.


Steve Alessi  2:12 



Mary Alessi  2:13 

 they can all speak into they're good communicators, but it doesn't mean that they're all going to go into communication.


Lauren is an amazing cook, doesn't mean that she's going to go into becoming a chef. So it's it. It's easy when you have a child that has this natural propensity, but we can't force that. And we've talked about how we've done this over the years, and we've kind of we didn't we never wanted to fumble our way through parenting. Never. So we always sought Proverbs, which is something that we are big about seeking wisdom. We've sought our parents' knowledge and other people's knowledge and information. And then we've just asked God to help us identify those things in our children's lives. Yeah, because even sometimes the thing they're good at, that they love, and they really are drawn towards, that might not be the thing for them. Yeah. You know, I remember when when Gaby was littler, and she could sing and hit high notes, people would say you need to put her on American Idol. Like, how about No, yeah, no, she's never going on American Idol. Because some gifts need to be channeled in a way that God gets the glory. And the world doesn't get to have your kids


Steve Alessi  3:26 

Or letting that gift come out before It's time.


It's time, too soon


which is huge. Going back to the importance of making sure they're their foundation is strong, that they're secure, that they're secure in God.


Mary Alessi  3:40 

 That's right


Steve Alessi  3:41 

because you never want your kids to be elevated in their gift to a position that their character won't sustain it.


Mary Alessi  3:48 

That's exactly right.


Steve Alessi  3:49 

And so you don't want your kids to be elevated too quickly. But as a parent, it's part of our job.


Mary Alessi  3:55 



Steve Alessi  3:56 

Our job


Mary Alessi  3:57 

that's right


Steve Alessi  3:57 

is to help our kids recognize their gifts. So I think back on a couple of things, with Christopher in particular. I mean, we knew right away that Chris had the gift of gab,


Mary Alessi  4:10 

He could talk.


Steve Alessi  4:11 

 he could talk and one of those times really showed itself when he was doing something that we had to punish him for. So going home. We said to him in the car, Chris, when you get home, you have an option. Remember the story?


Mary Alessi  4:33 



Steve Alessi  4:33 

 where we said to him, either, you're going to get a spanking. Okay. Or you're not going to be able to watch Barney.


Mary Alessi  4:48 

Oh boy


Steve Alessi  4:49 

, for two weeks or something like


Mary Alessi  4:52 



Steve Alessi  4:53 

And Chris was young at the time and of course, a spanking back then was a couple, soft swats


Mary Alessi  5:00 

It was nothing,


Steve Alessi  5:00 

no, yeah, on his backside, and he's sitting in the backseat, and this is what we learned he was gonna be, he's gonna be able to talk his way through some things


Mary Alessi  5:11 

out of some things.


Steve Alessi  5:13 

you remember what he said? He's back there quietly in the backseat, he's processing and says, Can I ask a question? And we said, yeah, of course, we had this little kid. He's all by himself back there. We're trying to figure out how to even, you know, discipline him at that age, because Chris was always a good kid. He just do things that were like, Okay. Don't invite anybody over to spend a night this weekend. Okay, Chris, nobody can come spend the night in he's end up with three or four kids coming in asking us Can I spend the night at your house?


Mary Alessi  5:44 

My mom said I could if you say yes


Steve Alessi  5:47 

So I think it was actually one of those things. And so he's in the back and he says, Can I ask you a question? He said, Yes. He says,


How many swats on the butt


will I get?


We knew right there.


Mary Alessi  6:04 

We were cornered!


Steve Alessi  6:05 

 this kid. He's gonna learn how to ask the right questions. He's gonna learn how to articulate himself in such a way that then one day when he was complaining about getting bullied at school,


I was always quick to want to respond. And that was terrible for me growing up when I was bullied, or when I was picked on because as a preacher's kid, I, I would have this, this chip on my shoulder that stayed with me forever, and I just get aggressive. And I'd say to him when he was talking about being bullied, and he was I hated it. I used to watch it when he'd be playing football or something . And I'd say, Chris, please do me a favor, never hit somebody. Never punch a guy


Mary Alessi  6:44 

Never be aggressive.


Steve Alessi  6:44 

 never be aggressive. Always talk your way out of it. Always talk your way out of it. And sure enough, Chris learned how to communicate all with his mouth, his thoughts the way he gets up. And today we see him doing what he does on the stage with the gift that he has.


Mary Alessi  7:04 



Steve Alessi  7:04 

 it was part of his young DNA as a kid, and it was our job to recognize that that was that was part of his gift.


Mary Alessi  7:13 



Steve Alessi  7:13 

 what I see a lot of people in our position do and when I say our position, I'm referring to ministry, I see a lot of people putting their kids in the areas of giftings, or positions that they're not gifted for.


Mary Alessi  7:29 



Steve Alessi  7:30 

If your kid is not a gifted communicator,


Mary Alessi  7:33 



Steve Alessi  7:33 

Don't put them in that position of leadership. No, because that that's not something that's going to be what God has put on them for. people that speak better have a gift of communicating, right? Or they're going to be a teacher, you can be a teacher, but in our line in our profession, if you're gonna pastor, if you have more of a teaching gift, and let's help you bring that teaching gift out if you're going to speak. But if you're a revelator, then let's let you find your area of Revelation. Right. And that's what we see with Christopher is his strength. Right, is that. so we recognize that in him from the early onset?


Mary Alessi  8:12 

Yeah. And I think it's important to know what your kids you know, you don't have to know for sure what they're good at, right away by the time they're in second grade.


Steve Alessi  8:22 

That's so good.


Mary Alessi  8:22 

We have to be careful not to get out ahead of God, and get out ahead of their maturity and drive them in a direction out of this sense of false need, that we need to get them somewhere. No, they just just let it marinate, let it Let it be. Build their confidence in who they are at home, making their beds important, you know, all those little things. But it's so easy for us to feel like to be a good parent, I've got to help my child find what they're good at. Because what they do good is what's going to give them confidence and sometimes just doing things right.


Steve Alessi  8:54 



Mary Alessi  8:55 

 In the process is enough. Just do day to day, right.


Steve Alessi  9:00 



Mary Alessi  9:01 

And it's also important to know what they're to be okay with what they're not good at. Yeah. And I think of Stephanie. Right. So Stephanie, all through school.


was terrible at school.


Steve Alessi  9:14 



Mary Alessi  9:15 



Steve Alessi  9:15 



Mary Alessi  9:16 

Yes. School. Yeah. Education and being in the classroom. So she hated it. She struggled with it. She was had to be taken out every day when she was in school. And she had to do, you know, like, extra classes and this and that to help her get caught up. And I remember when we really knew school was not going to be her thing was when she got her report card back one day, and we sit her down and it's awful. It's just bad. She's in elementary school, and it's just bad. And you're sitting there and you said, Stephanie, you got a D in this class, and a C in this class, and you're going down and they're all like, B minuses and


below C's and D's and


Steve Alessi  9:59 

Remined me of my report cards,


Mary Alessi  10:00 

they were just like yours. And you're reading them. And she looked at us with all the confidence that a little girl could muster. And she went, guys, they're only letters.


Steve Alessi  10:20 

Did she just say that?


Mary Alessi  10:22 

 No, they're grades. It's a grading scale. The teacher just did not randomly choose letters to write down to say how well you're doing because it's based on your merit just based on how well they're not just letters. We knew right then. Okay. Just because she wasn't good at school. did not mean she wasn't going to be great at something.


Steve Alessi  10:42 



Mary Alessi  10:42 

And And I'll never forget that. The principal called us in, Marilyn. And she confirmed that Yeah, but with confidence school is not going to be Steph's thing, and it's okay.


Steve Alessi  10:52 

It's okay.


Mary Alessi  10:54 

 There are a lot of people that thrive outside of school. As a matter of fact, she'll probably get to college and because she's going to work on a different system. She's gonna blow the place away, and you're gonna see her be a creative and be so talented. And she spoke words over Stephanie, and over you and I that gave us hope. Because sometimes as parents we get in. So in the season of where our kids are, they've got to master this season. They've got to be great at this. Well, they're, they're eight.


Steve Alessi  11:18 



Mary Alessi  11:19 

Let's give them some time.


Steve Alessi  11:20 

Yeah. And it reminds me of when we realized she wasn't going to be an athlete either.


Mary Alessi  11:25 



Steve Alessi  11:25 

 she thought she wanted to play soccer. Now and so she get out there and kick the ball around. And mostly she just would get it out there and almost push her way around.


Mary Alessi  11:34 

She hated it.


Steve Alessi  11:35 

No, she she loved playing, but she would get aggressive with some of the girls. She always took everything personal. If they blocked her. They she never made it about the ball. She always made it about what they do that for? I wish people lose Stephanie at that age, when they see where she's at today, this sweet little thing that gets up on the platform. I wish they knew her back when she was so aggressive about little things. And so one time they she came home telling me Dad, they want me to be the goalie. I'm like, Oh, no, this isn't gonna work. But she's like, so aggressive. She wanted it so bad. And then she was that goalie who's sitting there. And while the balls on the other end of the field. She's not watching the ball or her team. She's just looking down at little flowers. She's trying to find clovers and


Mary Alessi  12:23 

She was a landscaper early on early on.


Steve Alessi  12:26 

We knew man she was going to be the kind of kid that was creative. But john, do me a favor. Send me text me real quick. Remember when we had our men's event, early morning, we'd do our man up manhood. And we took a test. I can't remember what that test was. If you can remember that test that we would take that showed us who we are what kind of temperament we had. Yeah, send a text it to me. Because I were talking about recognizing gifts. May you remember when I came home with this? I think we did it so many years ago with Florence Littauer.


Mary Alessi  13:00 

 Oh, yeah.


Steve Alessi  13:01 

Okay, yeah. And here we are in our men's event. And we're taking this particular test. And the test was showing us what kind of temperament whatever it was, I can't remember all the details of it. But whatever that test was, I actually brought it home. And I took it with the kids. And I showed the kids where there this this test what what it would affirm in them, whether it was a temperament, whether it was a character test, whatever was gifting what showed where they were strong, what kind of, you know, propensity they would have. And as kids, I remember them, taking it, taking them through it, because I wanted them to feel affirmed. And their unique processing the way they would process, the way that they would think the way that they would feel though, the way that they would see things or their area of gifting where they would be stronger. Even as kids I remember taking them through that. So that they would feel this affirmation, that whatever it is, they are whatever is unique about them? It's them and it's special. That's right. And they should celebrate that.


Mary Alessi  13:43 



Steve Alessi  13:44 

You remember how important those tests were?


Mary Alessi  14:14 

Oh, my goodness, I think that was, that's the connecting the dots that we talked about before that are so important, that some of the things that if if they really appeal and bless you personally, share this with your kids. Yep. If they make an impact in your life, make it a family, even if your kids make fun... "I'm not taking that" they make fun of you know, we are bringing that vision to your family into your children. What a What an awesome opportunity. You have to turn the TV off, get the kids in the room and say let's do this together so we can help you find where God has you and where you're going. It's so affirming. And you know, the truth is about when you're kids, it's those little things that happen that you never forget. Yeah, you know, I remember while you're looking for that, I remember Stephanie was about 15. And we had a Womanity conference here. And she was homeschooling. And because when when I took her out of school and started homeschooling her,  everything changed, her grades shot up because she could work at her pace, she had a different way of doing things. So the other two were better with structure, Steph was not as good with structure. But she loved being able to do things on a different time frame. So as long as we did things disciplined, she did well, while I remember, we were on the stage, and we were getting ready for the evening trying to get the music together. And I was trying to bring her into what we were doing. She was probably about 14.




And I was trying to bring her into find out, is she really gifted in music. I know, she has a guitar, and she likes it. But she was just really kind of, you know, starting down that road, I would not say she was a prodigy at all. You know, she knew a few chords. And her voice sounded like a little girl. But I wanted to see what we could develop. And honestly Steve, the truth is, this was not a wisdom moment for me. This was not parental genius on my part, it was really almost a dismissal of a moment that she was getting on my nerves. And so I was on the stage practicing. And so she comes in and she said, the words that every parent hates, I'm bored. And I said, you're bored? How can you be bored, you have work to do. I finished my work. And I said, Well, you've got your guitar. Why don't you go in the room and write a song. Let's see what you come up with? Well, I really thought she would see that as me just dismissing her to get her out of my, my face. And because I had work to do. I said, go write a song, maybe you could write a song for the conference. Never thought about it again. went on with the day. Later that afternoon, she comes in and she goes, Okay, I'm ready. I said, what are you talking about, you're ready? She said, I wrote a song. I said, What are you talking about? She said, You told me to go write a song. I wrote a song. And I said you did? And that was the first song she wrote called Speak to Me. I'm on my knees ready to receive this land is dry. I can't remember all the words ...that your word can only satisfy. So bring your word down like the rain as our hearts are listening. Speak to me, speak to me. I sat there frozen. I could not believe what a moment of go see if you could do this would produce her first song. And what was amazing is she never turned that off. Once that faucet got turned on,  And I can't even say that I was intentionally seeking. We were just bringing them along. I was just bringing her along and loving music loving God. And then all the sudden, she's a songwriter. And now we know she's writing songs. She's writing with other people. She's getting her songs recorded. She's making records, and she's living in this giftedness, this gifting land. That really when she was 12, we didn't know what's going to happen.


Steve Alessi  17:57 



Mary Alessi  17:58 

We weren't sure. But we just took chances and brought them into these moments of opportunity. And the Lord did the rest.


Steve Alessi  18:04 



the point there is we can't leave it up to our kids to figure out


Mary Alessi  18:09 



Steve Alessi  18:10 

that gift that they have, we have to help them.


Mary Alessi  18:13 

That's good, that's really good.


Steve Alessi  18:14 

which just makes it so good. sad when you think about so many kids that are out there without the proper kind of parental influence that don't have it don't have that influence, giving them the right guidance. And we wonder why. You know, so many of them are confused. And so many are feeling lost, and they're not loved and appreciated.


Mary Alessi  18:36 

Or they waste time they waste years. Without direction.


Steve Alessi  18:39 

Yeah, that Florence , Florence Litteaur, it was the personality test that we took years ago, and that we would share with our kids. The other was this, it was about manhood manhood. And there was the four stages you are King, you're a warrior, you are a lover, or you are a friend. And I remember taking Christopher through that because I wanted him to be affirmed in who he was as a man and what gifting his personality compared to her combined with a gift that he had, how that would all work out in his life. And thankfully, it's at this point has brought good results, which then leads us to this. In our line of work. Our kids really right now are part of our ministry team. Yeah, not just our staff, Mary, but our team.


Mary Alessi  19:28 



Steve Alessi  19:29 

 which is so unique. And people this is where a lot of people come up and say, Man, how did you guys do that? Well, one part of that is when you're, you do recognize that your kid has a certain gift, you got to make way for them. You got to give them room on your platform or in your company to start to use their gift and exercise it.


Mary Alessi  19:58 



Steve Alessi  19:59 

So the more you Exercise, the gift bible calls it stirring up the gift. But the more you exercise that gift, the better you're going to be at it just like anything natural and working out, your muscles get stronger as you use them, any kind of resistance. So I've seen parents do one of two things, either they never give their kids a chance to be promoted, or to use their gifts in front of others, because they, the parent may feel like they're not ready. They're not as good as I am. It could be an issue with ego. I know in our line of work, there's a lot of guys that have egos, that they just don't make room for others that are not as good as them. Whatever that means, okay. So some never make a way for him, then the other side of it some make away too soon, and push their kids up there as though they have a kid that is special, right? And here's the thing, it's important that we teach our kids with their gifting. Listen, you are important on our team, you're not necessarily special. And there's a big difference.  They all have to be important. They got to feel they're important because of their you their gift and what they bring to the table. If they don't feel important, they're not going to want to fit in.


Mary Alessi  21:13 



Steve Alessi  21:14 

 So they have to feel important that you're part of the puzzle, that dad's not the only puzzle out there. Dad's not the only piece of this puzzle. And in our case, it's not dad and mom, but everyone in our family is important. Okay. But that they have a role to play their piece of the puzzle. But we don't promote them too soon, because if we promote them too soon, then we could hurt the development of their gift.


Mary Alessi  21:42 

That's right.


Steve Alessi  21:42 

And we've seen this,


Mary Alessi  21:43 

we've seen it. And what's what's scary is that when a person a young person's character is not developed, it doesn't matter how gifted they are, they sabotage the gifting. And in sabotaging the gifting, they hurt a lot of people along the way. And it's not necessarily all the fault of that person. It's the leaders in their life, it's the parents that elevated them too quickly. And especially if you have a child that's really, really talented, naturally has a propensity towards something, and you elevate them too quickly, they start believing there's something that they are not, and their character isn't developed enough. And we say it this way, we know their frontal lobes aren't fused. I mean, their brains aren't even fully developed to truly understand reasoning, that that could get me in trouble. Their characters and their brains are still being developed. So when you elevate a young person quicker than he ought, you are going to deal with the fallout of that,


Steve Alessi  22:43 



Mary Alessi  22:44 

 because their character can't sustain where their gifting takes them. And the Bible says that it's God, that will make a way for you. He'll open doors for you that no man can shut. We as parents still have to know how to navigate and guide our children. You can't... You can't ever be too humble in God's presence. You can't ever lay anything down enough for God. When you lay those things down and you teach your kids to say don't get it.... let's not get this twisted. I'll give you a story that that I heard years ago from a lady that I met when I was traveling on the road. And her son was a prodigy on the drums... at by the age of 11 was a prodigy. And because he was so talented, all of these other drummers were giving him sets and, and blown away and 11 years old, and he's having this opportunity. He's having that opportunity. And I remember sitting with his mom talking about him, because he was at this church and he was playing and she said, the truth is his gifting is taking him somewhere that I know as his mother, he's not ready to sustain. So we're doing this, but I'm about to pull it all away. And I remember thinking, Oh, she's going to crush this kid's dream. But just because it was his gifting doesn't mean that out of time, it should be a dream.  Because that's the parents role to navigate through wisdom and discernment. when is the right time? It could have easily been catastrophic for that young man. Yeah. The lure?


Steve Alessi  24:19 

Yeah, yes, we see that with sports where kids because of a gift are being promoted. And nobody says the education is important.


Mary Alessi  24:27 

That's right.


Steve Alessi  24:28 

 and they get them through school to be an athlete, and then they become an athlete where the limelight is so bright. The money is so alluring, that they never develop a character to go along with that bright light or that position because they've just skated by on gifts, right? We can't do that with our  kids. We got to make sure we're giving them the opportunity at the right time. Now it starts with little opportunities here and there. But don't make people in our line of work. don't make your church family. sit there and have to endure a bad gift. Yeah, that you think your kid has, if it's not ready yet


Mary Alessi  25:09 

I know. And you're nobody ever talks this way. This is Steven and Mary talk.


Steve Alessi  25:13 

No one will really something. If in today's church, I mean, there's some churches that you were raised in where they never made way for the kids are our days different. We like making a way not just for our kids, we make a way for the kids of our, our staff. They are part of our team. It's important. Our goal is so long range with our family, but also our church ministry that we want to see all of those kids that have a gift for the ministry and a calling for the ministry, there's going to be a place for them to land to be a part of this team here.




That's beautiful. With two campuses, we're able to see that more and more. But I've seen parents promote too quickly.


Mary Alessi  25:57 



Steve Alessi  25:57 

 which then puts their kid in a position that the kids not ready for,


They're not ready.


They give them... because they have a gift, they put them in front of certain people that they're not ready to be put in, that makes the kid feel as though they're...they're better than their peer group. Your kid should never feel they're better than their peer group. No, no, let, let them recognize that that peer group is there to support. It's there for them to enjoy it. They should feel comfortable with their peer group. But I've seen it where parents have put their kid in front of people 10 years older than they are, 15 years older and let their kid think their gift is so important that they that that they deserve getting up there in front of that person. And then they use that. And it makes him a little prideful. And it makes him a little arrogant. And you don't want that people don't want to follow least in our line of work, Mary....they don't want to follow somebody that's prideful or arrogant.


Mary Alessi  27:04 

That's right.


Steve Alessi  27:05 

 All because they have a certain gift.


Mary Alessi  27:07 

 That's right.


Steve Alessi  27:07 

That's why we I mean, we work real hard to keep our kids humble.


Mary Alessi  27:13 

We remind them where they came from, at all times. No. Well, you know, I will say there was one really good example of you know, having four children. And Christopher, we helped somewhat, Stephanie, we didn't really have to help a lot. She went headfirst into music. Gabby knew by the time she was a young teenager, she wanted to be in ministry as well. And Lauren, our third super gifted and talented, the sweetest spirit of everybody in our family. We've always said that. There's... there was a season for her finishing high school of really knowing what she wanted to do. And in not knowing what she wanted to do. She would verbalize that she just knew what she didn't want to do.


Steve Alessi  27:57 



Mary Alessi  27:58 

And it hurt us all a little bit. when she'd sit make these statements like, Well, I'm not going to be in ministry like you guys. And I'm not going to do this. And we would get defensive for a little bit. And then as time went on, and she got into college, and she started, she was different. Her... the way that she does things is just different than everyone in the family. She's very unique. And you helped her a couple years ago, really help find that focal point, based on what you saw her naturally have a propensity towards even at home with your friends throughout her whole life. And it was so insightful of you, if I can brag about you for a little bit, to have that discernment about her and to really help her navigate. Because that's not your personality, you your personality... You get impatient with that very quickly. "No, find your thing," whatever. And Lauren was just not making it as easy as the others did. But you really navigated her through and let her kind of find her way but also not on her own. You helped her find that way through what she was naturally gifted at. You want to tell that or you want me to tell it?


Steve Alessi  29:05 

fine. Yeah, I wish her I wish people could see how this worked itself out. Because it's just part of what we said before about constantly staying in the loop. Always teaching leadership always being on point. It's never really a pause.


Mary Alessi  29:21 

You don't lay it down.


Steve Alessi  29:22 

But we we were in the car and I'd... been praying because we were at a critical place with her. She had... Lauren was always a year ahead of her school.


Mary Alessi  29:34 



Steve Alessi  29:35 

 And sometimes we forgot that. So when she graduated, she would have been a senior


Mary Alessi  29:39 



Steve Alessi  29:40 

And we're treating her like she was a college graduate when the truth was she was just a senior in high school. But mentally we saw her ahead. And then she ended up going to Hawaii and it was beautiful for her to go to Hawaii because that taught her something about herself.


Mary Alessi  29:57 

Yes, it did.


Steve Alessi  29:58 

 that she had this ability which is so Important that she had a confidence to do things like she did when she was in Hawaii. And when we went to visit her that time, we were blown away at how she had mastered


Mary Alessi  30:11 

 it was crazy.


Steve Alessi  30:12 

 that island. So it was important for her to take that trip when she came back. She wasn't really settled with her place here. And I remember praying Lord, help help me direct her. My job is to direc her.


Mary Alessi  30:28 

which is a powerful prayer for father or mother to pray


Steve Alessi  30:31 

Gotta direct her.


Mary Alessi  30:32 

that's that's right there. Write that down.


Not going to leave it to an educator to do that, on their own


Steve Alessi  30:36 

Help me direct her.


Mary Alessi  30:37 

 not gonna wait for a boyfriend to come along.




no, no,


Steve Alessi  30:40 

I need to help her. 


Mary Alessi  30:41 

That's right.


Steve Alessi  30:42 

And so I remember watching the way she would communicate with us in a family setting around the table. Anytime Lauren would say some, she reminded me a little of your dad. Yeah. Because your dad was like, a reader's digest guy, the little book. He would always have something he had read in the Reader's Digest. And he would share it with people around the table. And it was usually humorous, but he always had that Reader's Digest


Mary Alessi  31:10 

 Little nuggets of wisdom.


Steve Alessi  31:12 

Yeah. And so what I was seeing with Lauren is she had some of that, where she would say, Well, I was reading the other day, and she would share things. It was always so good.


Mary Alessi  31:22 



Steve Alessi  31:23 

 It was always attention getting, it wasn't just a kid. But as a young woman growing up, she was bringing value to the conversation, and it was filled with a certain level of wisdom.


Mary Alessi  31:36 



Steve Alessi  31:37 

And so I remember saying to you, Mary, I think Lauren, she just may help us in the future in our ministry, be a counselor, because I watched the way she brings wisdom to a situation. And I'm wondering if that's something God wants to stir up in here. Of course, you and I were immediately on the same page, we pray about it. Then it was how do I introduce this conversation to Lauren. And we're in the truck one day, going to Georgia, I was tired. So she's driving my truck at the time. And we're on I-10 going west. And I remember waking up from the nap. And she and I were starting to talk. And I said to her this I said, you know, Lauren, I've watched the way you communicate, I watched the way you share things with our family. And I'll tell you every time you do so It impresses me, because you come with an different perspective that quite frankly, for your age is quite wise of you. And Lauren, you know what I'm wondering. I'm wondering if maybe your involvement in the ministry, which is something we're going to need. We need this Lauren. I wonder if your involvement in the ministry will be that of a counselor. More and more people today need counseling Lauren. Godly counseling. And maybe that's something that you would be able to provide for the church. And I just shut up at that point, because I wanted to see what she would say. Of course, I thought she would say "Ah, dad No... you know, that's too...


Mary Alessi  33:17 



Steve Alessi  33:17 

Counselor? What's that? You know, it's not fun. Not at all.


Mary Alessi  33:21 

I know.


Steve Alessi  33:22 

She thought there for a minute. Touches my heart. Because I remember her vulnerability.


Mary Alessi  33:28 



Steve Alessi  33:29 

I remember her being so open to me at that moment, Mary. And it was precious of her. Because she had never said a negative thing. Lauren was always honorable, always precious, always truthful with her feelings. And I remember her looking and saying, you know, Dad, I really like that.


Mary Alessi  33:51 



Steve Alessi  33:52 

Which then started a conversation that has led us to this point where when we were developing some counseling coaches, Mory on our staff, said, Lauren, would you help me with reading some material because Mory knew of our conversation. And our staff got behind right away in helping navigate Lauren in the right direction here of how can I develop this gift? And now we see her all this time later she's pursuing her master's degree from Liberty University in counseling. Yeah.


And she's thriving she has  found her place.


 oh my gosh, and the stuff she shares with us, we learned


Mary Alessi  34:41 

Oh my God,


Steve Alessi  34:42 

I'm amazed how wrong I've been. I've always warned people I'm not a good counselor


Mary Alessi  34:47 

Me neither!


Steve Alessi  34:48 

I'm reminded every time I talked I did wrong too hard, too direct, too blunt, all of those things


Mary Alessi  34:56 

She lets us know you guys would be terrible counselors.


Steve Alessi  34:58 

Terrible counselors. But that's part of the whole process. That's right. And now going forward, you know, we as a church are going to have a counseling department.


Mary Alessi  35:09 

 Oh, yeah.


Steve Alessi  35:09 

And we're working with some people in that , and Lauren's gonna be right along with us. Okay, so her gift is not on the platform, though she sings on the platform. Yeah. And she enjoys singing


Mary Alessi  35:22 



Steve Alessi  35:23 

 And loves leading


Mary Alessi  35:24 

that doesn't drive her.


Steve Alessi  35:25 

that doesn't really drive her. Like it does Stephanie or like it does Gaby or Christopher. Christopher is now the communicator. He loves that, not crazy about the worship, that... he does it. That's not necessarily what drives him. Stephanie's driven by the worship... Gabby's driven by the worship, though she's going to change and be more of a communicator, as time goes on. Lauren, she's not going to be driven by the worship and on the platform and the speaking.  She's going to be driven by sitting down, helping people process what they're going through.


Mary Alessi  35:58 

 Oh, what a gift.


Steve Alessi  35:59 

And it's just as valuable to the ministry as a sermon, or a song.


Mary Alessi  36:04 

 Yes, it is.


Steve Alessi  36:05 

The whole point here is, we have to help our kids recognize the gifts that they have, and then make a way for them as best as possible, while keeping them humble, and on track, and in the right timing,


Mary Alessi  36:23 

That's it.


Steve Alessi  36:24 

because they may not well, we know this, they're not going to peak in their 20s. They better not peak in their 20s.


Mary Alessi  36:29 

No, they better not.


Steve Alessi  36:30 

They bet better, not peeking their 30s


Mary Alessi  36:33 

there's a long road ahead,


Steve Alessi  36:34 

there's a long road ahead. Peaks come somewhere really in their late 40s and 50s.


 20s, they're just finding their way. 30s there's trying to build and get established. 40s, they're building a platform that's gonna bring security. 50, they slow down a bit and start to enjoy the labor of their work. And so by that time, they're in their 60s and 70s, they're reaping the real benefits of what their gifts and talents...


Mary Alessi  37:03 



Steve Alessi  37:04 

...have been meant for. So we hope today, this has helped us... helped you understand the value of gifting. So as I close speaking of gifts, this has nothing to do with gifting. But what's your favorite hobby?


Mary Alessi  37:20 

Oh, my favorite hobby...Is?


Steve Alessi  37:22 

 Hobby Lobby


Mary Alessi  37:25 



Steve Alessi  37:26 

Dog gone it.


Mary Alessi  37:27 

Shopping is my favorite hobby.


Steve Alessi  37:31 

And you have the scars to prove it.


Mary Alessi  37:33 

And I do. My credit card stays hot all the time.


Steve Alessi  37:37 

 hot and heavy.




Mary Alessi  37:40 

No, but it is shopping.


Steve Alessi  37:41 

It is! That brings you joy.


What's mine, Mary?


Mary Alessi  37:44 

 it's an anti depressant. What is your favorite hobby? Oh, everybody knows what your favorite hobby, don't they?


Steve Alessi  37:50 

that's changed over the years.


Mary Alessi  37:51 

Can I guess?


Steve Alessi  37:52 

Well, yeah.


Mary Alessi  37:54 

hunting hunting.


Steve Alessi  37:56 

The hobby of the century is hunting


Mary Alessi  38:01 

for you.


Steve Alessi  38:02 

 For me. The hunting of the 50s century was fishing.


Mary Alessi  38:08 



Steve Alessi  38:09 

The hunting of the thrities century was vroom vroom.


Mary Alessi  38:12 

 Well, I


 Yes, motorcycles. I just wanted to be clear. I've been consistent with my hobby all these years.


Steve Alessi  38:16 

 that's so true.


Mary Alessi  38:17 

very consistent. You however,


Steve Alessi  38:20 

I got a feeling my hobby was more expensive than your hobby.


Mary Alessi  38:23 

Oh, thank you for saying that. It's recorded and set in motion.


Steve Alessi  38:27 

But I do have a green thumb these days too. So I'm developing.


Mary Alessi  38:30 

That's kind of cool.


Yes, you are.


Steve Alessi  38:32 

Yes, we are. Okay, we hope today the family...


Mary Alessi  38:38


Steve Alessi  38:38 

...podcast has been a blessing.