Naming Gifts

Every Person Has their Own Distinctive Constellation of Gifts, Ways that they Can Make a Difference in the World

image of pathways purple iconSome gifts show up as a person takes action, others more quietly in the responses people have to their presence. Some gifts show up in family life, others when a person is with friends or in a place that brings a gift alive.


  • Gifts of the hand (and feet and voice) –abilities and skills that the person can contribute. For example, recognizing people and remembering names, dancing, fixing things, singing, typing, drawing, arranging shapes and colors, using a computer, decorating, acting, composing music, figuring out the best way to do a job, sewing, working hard using physical strength, ability to sign, ability to speak or understand another language.
  • Gifts of the head–knowledge, questions, experience, and information that the person can contribute. For example, figuring people out, organizing and classifying things, travel routes, sports news, fan information, gossip, local history, ability to spot a bargain, ability to debate, sales ability, creative thinking, math, solving puzzles, interest in politics, desire to think and talk about big questions.
  • Gifts of the heart –interests, enthusiasms, personal passions, and the rewards of relationship that my partner brings to others. For example, welcoming people, patience, courage, impatience to move from talk into action, sensitivity to others, high energy, desire for order, ability to listen, passion for justice, love of nature, ability to draw others out, spiritual gifts.
  • Gifts of history and identity –experiences, knowledge, responsibilities, concerns, types of belonging that come with membership in the person’s particular family, religion, national or ethnic group or culture.

One way to start remembering a person’s gifts is to share stories of a time when the person made a positive difference to another person and felt good about doing so. How big or small the difference doesn’t matter, only how the person made a difference. Reflect on each story by asking, “What gifts show up in this story?” Note a word or phrase that names this gift. If you like you can print and use the outline on the next page.

The more different people you invite to tell a story of a difference the person has made to them the richer the picture.

*Naming Gifts © 2019 Inclusion Press All rights reserved. Adapted for Inclusion Alberta from John O’Brien & Beth Mount. (2019) Pictures & Conversations. Toronto: Inclusion Press and used by permission of Inclusion Press.