"Your Unique Gifts" High School Winner Kamron Yazdani

Read Kamron's essay on the gift that isn't easy to see.
Puanani Burgess.jpg

Puanani Burgess remembers playing in these giant banyan and kapok trees as a child on the grounds of Iolani Palace in Honolulu. 
Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine

Kamron Yazdani, a student with the Global Village School, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Blessings Revealed" by Puanani Burgess. He is our high school winner for the Spring 2011 writing competition.

Writing prompt:  What is your gift? How do you share it?



Finding Your Gift

 

I can easily read people. I feel if they are genuine and their motives are sincere. I look into their eyes and there is a knowing. Some might call this being an old soul, but I feel as naïve as a child most of the time. It might be because of this that children are drawn to me. There is no pretense with a small child; they are the easiest and most straightforward of all human beings.

I volunteer with my mother and sister at the 100 Oaks Youth Center, an arts initiative in my neighborhood. I have to admit I feel awkward when a horde of kindergartners trail behind me. I’m a 6”4 skinny seventeen-year-old. It’s not supposed to be cool, and in some cases, not even socially acceptable, to play the Pied Piper. They can sense purity of intent, too, I guess.

Last January, at a conference in Florida, I sat in a roomful of teens and adults listening to a speaker when I suddenly felt the presence of little ones next to me. I glanced down and there they were again – four vagabond kids, having absconded from class, staring up at me with hopeful eyes. I shrugged and accepted my fate as the most popular playmate in the 5-year-old category. We all ended up sitting quietly in the meeting room, drawing a collage on a 6-foot banner of what we each have learned at the conference about peace. In the background the speaker elucidated on matters of great importance in the world.

This can be a gift in many ways—my ability to look through something and see.  I can’t diagram a sentence or expertly write a literary analysis, but I can decipher puzzles and see patterns. Like the boy in Puanani Burgess’ article, “Blessings Revealed,” I have a gift that isn’t easy to see. People come to me to share their problems, and it’s not just for emotional support—it’s because they want me to help them come up with a viable solution.  They tell me I can break it down for them in a way they cannot do for themselves.

For so long, I felt out of step because my sister is academically inclined. She’s the kind of person who knows what to do and when to do it – an organized person. She has confidence and self-esteem. I have never felt that I could measure up to those standards, and now I realize that every person has a gift and they have to find the ability within that makes them unique from everyone else. It has suddenly become clear to me that success isn’t measured only by a report card or a performance review or the amount of cash you have in your wallet or how well you can give a presentation.  It’s measured by how fulfilled you feel inside about who you are—and in the shining eyes of a child or the thankful hug of a troubled friend.