Sunday Post 137: The Rock Stars

On Sunday nights, I work with the 4th and 5th graders at church.  We call ourselves the “Rock Stars.”  I’ve been hanging out with them for a couple of years now, and it’s pretty fun.

I think what I enjoy the most is seeing them on Sunday mornings or even away from church.  It feels good for them to come up to me and toss me a high-five.  Makes me feel like I’m making a difference.

Our lesson last week was on the Parable of the Talents.  In the story, a master gives his three servants coins while he goes away on a long trip.  When he returns, he asks the guys what they did with the money he left in their care.

The first and second servants actually doubled the money they were given with strong investment strategies.  Conversely, the third buried his coin and came back to his master with the same thing he started with.

I think one of the primary reasons folks don’t share their talents is because they don’t really have the confidence to know what they’re good at.  Or, they work to be humble, thus not admiting where they excel.

At times, I’ve heard my kids imply that they’re stupid or untalented.  It bugs the heck out of me.

After reading the story, I gathered the kids around for a game of Pictionary on the dry erase board.  I had written down talents and they had to draw them and have their friends guess what they were.

Strategically, I worked not to have talents that were easy to see – like a great voice or strong athletic skill.  Instead I stressed gifts that that receive less attention and noteritity – like an ability to show compassion or strong listening skills or the gift of being a friend.

My hope is they’ll stop comparing themselves to the most beautiful girl in class or the most athletic boy on the soccer field.  Instead, I want them to see that whatever talent they’ve been given is important and worthy of recognition.  I want them to be able to verbalize what they’re good at and be proud of their gifts even if they aren’t the ones that society seems to laud the most.

I believe God gave us all abilities and that if we’re not using them to make the world a better place we’re squandering.  And that’s a lousy and lazy thing to do.


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  1. Mom

     /  September 29, 2013

    Good job of showing how this has meaning for us today. And so important for our kids to hear in today’s world.

  2. I really admire and appreciate this post. thank you.

  3. I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to put a link to this post on my facebook page. Just yesterday, I was downplaying my abilities to someone who called me on the carpet about it. And she barely knows me! I think all of us need to heed your words, not just the kids among us. As always, thanks for sharing your insights. They are spot-on.

  4. Annette Heath

     /  September 29, 2013

    Good morning Bruce,
    I am currently on page 185 of your new book. Didn’t get much of anything done yesterday afternoon and evening, and most of this morning. I am Catholic so I attend Mass at 5 PM on Saturday evening. I had been reading the book right up until it was time to leave for church, and was very weepy and sad… much so that I found myself in deep prayer during Mass, for you and for your beautiful daughters….indeed for all your family. I have attended to my duties part of this day, but cannot wait to get back to the book later this afternoon.

    Your writing is amazing and takes the reader right into Lisa’s diagnosis and struggle, and beautifully imparts her amazing strength and courage. As a person who has worked in healthcare all of my adult life, and seven years at Hospice of Wake County, I felt such a deep connection to Lisa. I wonder if most of us ponder how we would handle such a devastating illness. I know I have, and would hope and pray for the strength and acceptance Lisa displayed. From my own life’s work…I have often felt that the end of life would be gratefully accepted if one is very very ill. Lisa’s journey and your beautiful writing proved that to me. The patient has the easier role – those loved ones left behind travel that road full of rocks and thorns and deep holes, and unbearable grief. I cannot thank you enough for the gift of your journey thus far, sad and gut-wrenching as it is to read and embrace, it is good to do so.

    I will write to you again later. My daughter Kate was a friend of Hayes. She was the Senior Class President at Leesville HS and that’s how she knew Hayes. She is a survivor of a long and life-threatening illness at age eleven, which began to end with surgery at Duke at age 14. Kate went on to graduate from Duke in 2001; George Washington University later (MBA). She is a healthy young woman today and very successful. Nearly losing her several times surely left me with scars. Kate is one of three daughters, although her sisters were 19 and 21 when she was born. Yes, I am the biological Mom…I was 43 when she was arrived.

    With a heart full of gratitude and wishes for all the love and joy that is yet to come to you and your daughters, thank you. Annette Heath

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 29, 2013

      I’m really glad you wrote. I don’t think I realized how difficult the book is to read for folks. Of course, I cry when I read certain sections, but I just didn’t know how others would respond. My hope is that folks will better understand grief. My hope is they’ll laugh. And finally, maybe they’ll see a glimmer of hope – that as good as it is, there’s a way to make it through. Not pretty, but it can be done.

      Thank you for taking the time to read it!

  5. Aunt Susan

     /  September 29, 2013

    Well did you take to heart your lessons? I could not wait, and braved Amazon and got the book, took me two days to read it.I spent a lot of time thinking and crying. And you my dear tend to play down your talents. Being humble is okay, but really you at what you have come through and were you are now, the girls and Hayes too.
    I think you are a Rock Star, or maybe a Rocketing Star!

  6. Sarah LF

     /  September 30, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this, Bruce. You are a vital part of the ROCK Stars and part of the reason it has been such a success. Thank you for sharing your many gifts with the children, youth and adults at FPC!
    fyi ROCK Stars = Reaching Out in Christian Kindness. If you’re in Raleigh and looking for a church home, we’d love for you to visit us. And if you have children in 4th or 5th grade, you can join us for ROCK Stars on Sunday nights at 5 pm! I mean, who wouldn’t want Danny as a youth advisor?! 🙂 (Pathfinders for kids K-3rd is at the same time.) Join us!

  7. Louise Godwin

     /  September 30, 2013

    body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}I have just finished reading Laughter, Tears, and Braids.  My name is Louise Godwin, I am a member of Snyder and also the mother of Nonie Godwin Sowers.  Thank you Bruce for your vulnerability.  Like you, I have been angry with God, and find few people can take that kind of honesty.  Lisa’s death, and the resulting rivoting book  will help many people to understand, that God can handle our anger, if we are but honest with Him.I have prayed for your family for years, and of course your parents have a very special place in my heart.  I know they are very proud of you.  Words will never express how grateful I am for your obedience to record your journey.  I hope this is only the beginning of your writing.  You are very gifted, and  God has certainly revealed your gifts through this tragedy.  God Bless,   Louise Godwin

  8. Andee

     /  October 1, 2013

    What a great post! We made sure our kids read this one. Thanks for the reminders on overlooked yet important talents. Also, Scott and I really enjoyed the book; we also went from laughter to tears many times while reading it. Much love, Andee


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