Talents & Empowerment

Written by Plant With Purpose on August 19, 2010 in General

By Annie Fikes

I don’t want to brag, but I’m really good at sleeping.

Sleeping might not sound like a great talent, but believe me, it is. I can sleep almost anywhere; benches, stairs, sidewalk curbs, airplanes, cars, floors. I sleep through stress, earthquakes, sirens, and people coming in and out of my room.

My first quarter of college, I hauled myself out of bed three days a week for an 8:15 a.m. philosophy class. It was a little bit miserable. One morning I stumbled back to my dorm and face planted on my bed, feet still on the floor, backpack and rain boots still on. I woke up an hour and a half later with my roommate laughing at me.

I’m also pretty good at working with children and taking multiple-choice tests. I’ve been told I have a special ability to walk around and do other things while brushing my teeth and not get toothpaste all over my face.

In Tending to Eden, Scott talks about how the talents and importance of people in poverty are generally ignored. This idea had never been presented to me before, but now I can see how pervasive it is. The poor are often treated as though they have no gifts to offer. 1 Corinthians 12:4 states that “there are a variety of gifts, but the same in spirit.” The truth is that people living in poverty have just as useful talents as any other person, which is why empowerment is such an important part of the Plant With Purpose mission.  

While at Plant With Purpose, I have come to understand the emphasis on native peoples’ involvement in Plant With Purpose projects. Instead of having people watch Plant With Purpose work, this organization uses native peoples’ skills and ideas, allowing them to make projects their own.

Plant With Purpose instills confidence and self-worth in its partners and strives to change the attitude that the poor do not have the gifts to help themselves. Reading Tending to Eden and working at Plant With Purpose reminds me of the power that the poor have to transform their own lives through their talents.

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