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Understanding Charisms in Youth

Hello, faithful listeners and new friends! Welcome back to “Charisms for Catholics,” where we delve into the fascinating world of spiritual gifts, or charisms, that are bestowed on us through the Holy Spirit. As we explore these gifts further, a recurring theme centers around nurturing and understanding charisms in our younger generations. Our host, Jill Simons, acknowledges her expertise primarily revolves around adults, prompting a much-anticipated focus on youth in this episode.

The Challenge of Charism Assessments for Youth

Many adult listeners, who have benefited from charism assessments themselves, express a desire to see their children experience similar enlightenments. These assessments help identify where the Holy Spirit is actively working in one’s life, encouraging a more active and intentional faith life. However, Jill wisely advises caution when it comes to administering these assessments to children.
The primary concern is the notable gap between a young person’s self-perception and reality. Young people often struggle with accurately assessing their strengths and weaknesses—a skill that typically improves with age. Jill points out the misleading results that could discourage children, mistakenly convincing them they lack spiritual gifts entirely, which is not the case.

Towards a Tailored Approach for Young Minds

To address these challenges effectively, Jill shares a visionary solution—developing resources specifically tailored to engage young people with the concept of charisms in an age-appropriate and affirming manner. She emphasizes the need to handle this tenderly, to ensure that we are affirming and not unknowingly embedding negative self-perceptions.
The initiative will kick off with the formation of an advisory committee tasked with creating two sets of resources: one for middle schoolers and another for high school students. These materials aim to be versatile, suitable for various educational contexts, including theology classes and confirmation preparation.

Join the Advisory Committee

This is where you, our dedicated listeners, come into play. Jill invites educators, theologians, and anyone passionate about youth ministry to join this exciting venture. Participation in the advisory committee offers a unique opportunity to shape a curriculum that could transform young lives by helping them recognize and nurture their God-given charisms.
Your insights and experiences are invaluable. To express interest in joining, please send an email to hello@ManyPartsMinistries.com with “Educational Advisory Committee” in the subject line. Together, we can forge a path that not only informs but also inspires our younger generations to walk confidently in their spiritual gifts.

This effort is not just about creating another set of educational tools—it’s about laying a foundation for the future of our Church. We are called to empower our youth, helping them to not only dream about but also actively pursue the extraordinary life God has planned for them. Join us in this crucial mission, and let’s help our young people flourish in their faith and identity.

Jill Simons:
Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries, where we equip the body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the church. Let’s dive in.

Jill Simons:
Today on the podcast, we’re talking about charisms and young people, and this is something so many of you wanna know about, have questions about. So I’m excited to finally be doing an episode on it. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but they definitely are less formed on the front of youth than they are with adults because I will be the first to admit that almost all of my experience is with adults. And so that is why we’re going to be moving towards something I’m gonna share a little bit about at the end of the podcast. So if you are an educator, if you are someone who is passionate about working with young people, you’re gonna wanna listen all the way to the end of the episode for a really cool opportunity that I’d love to share with you. So first of all, I just want to talk a little bit about, using the assessment specifically with young people. So a lot of people take the Charism assessment as adults, have a great experience, find it brings them a lot of clarity, a lot of, focus and maybe energy around what it is that they’re meant to be doing, and that’s really activating for them. And it makes them want to live their faith more accurately or not accurately, actively, I should say, and engage with the Holy Spirit in their prayer life and just have this really beautiful revival, almost, experience.

Jill Simons:
And so a lot of people want that for their kids, which fair. I do too. I absolutely want that for my kids to have that sense of, the fact that there is a purpose to them and their life and that God has work for them to do that’s gonna be fun and exciting and engaging and going to ultimately make them into this kind of saint that they’re being called to be. But I do want to kind of proceed with caution because, we obviously can’t stop you from giving the assessment to your kids. So if you feel set on that, then do as you will. We can’t stop you. But we definitely recommend caution in using the assessment specifically with children. And here’s why.

Jill Simons:
There is a gap that I’m sure you’re aware of in other areas of life, especially if you know or love young people on a regular basis. There’s a there’s a sizable gap between their ability to self-assess and reality. So you can have people who think that they’re one way, essentially, and actually are a different way. And so this this gap closes as we age, and adults typically after 20 ish years old, 18 or 20 years old, are much, much better at this. They’re able to more accurately assess themselves. Now this does vary kind of in correlation actually with their identity quotient, which we talk about a lot on our assessment. This idea that 1 the more people see themselves the way that God sees them, the more likely they are to accurately self assess. So if you have someone with a very low identity score, then all of their other numbers come into a little bit of suspicion just because they’re clear not seeing themselves and valuing themselves the way that God sees and values them.

Jill Simons:
So it becomes a little more suspect how they are seeing and valuing those expressions of God in themselves. So where they might be rating themselves as a neutral for something that actually is a great strength because they’re not perceiving that it’s a great strength. So this is not a judgment on those people. This is not meant to shame anyone in any way. This is just kind of the reality of the situation. When we’re working with objective tools, they’re just gonna reflect what you put into them. So the assessment is not sentient. It’s not going to, like, override the fact that you are, you know, devaluing yourself.

Jill Simons:
It’s just gonna reflect back what you put into it. So that’s one thing we keep in mind always when we’re looking at the assessment with kids. We don’t want to reflect back to them something that’s not accurate about themselves. It’s really common in some people that have had youth take it kind of against my recommendation, so I do have sort of a dataset here. Really common to have a very low scores. So for instance, we’ve had some kids who got only oranges and reds. Nothing in the green zone for their charisms. And so then what they take that to mean is that they don’t have any gifts and they don’t have any charisms and God kind of left them out and there’s nothing for them to do.

Jill Simons:
When in real but when this is not the actual reality of the situation, this is reflecting a gap in their ability to self assess. So that is the number one reason that I do not recommend having young people under the age of 18 take the assessment. Now just out of my own experience, that number is younger sometimes for very mature young women. Have yet to meet many young men where that I feel like under under 18 is truly a good fit. Not that it’s impossible, but I think it’s quite rare. Whereas with girls, there’s a slightly higher frequency. But I still am not a big fan of it. Because we don’t want to be putting anything in front of them in the context of charisms that’s gonna be essentially defeating.

Jill Simons:
Showing them that they perceive they don’t have gifts, that they’re not very good at anything, that they don’t have anything to contribute. Because this is a message that’s coming through other channels in their life that we absolutely do not want to reinforce because regardless their results on the assessment, it’s also absolutely not the truth. And so we want to be cooperating with truth and not, kind of, of, cementing the lies in the lives of these young people. And so something that’s been recommended to me is, you know, could we create an assessment that’s unique to young people? And that is definitely possible. I don’t feel that I have the skill to specifically do that and that is why we’re going to be, kind of, crowdsourcing our approach to this. So if that piques your interest, keep listening. What I have found to be most effective with young people is kind of exposing the idea of charisms and the fact that this is something coming down the pipeline for them and something that is available to them in their life as a Christian and also kind of strumming up this ability, desire to dream with the Holy Spirit about what it is that the Holy Spirit might have in store for them. So, essentially, I know what the content for young people needs to look like, but I have a very serious gap in the implementation of that.

Jill Simons:
Something that I’m very thankful for is that the Holy Spirit has given me a lot of clarity about what I am good at and what I am bad at. And young people and teaching them and reaching them is not an area of genius for me at all. So I can know from my charisms of, kind of, wisdom and knowledge what’s best for them. But because of the lack of teaching and the lack of maybe, I don’t know, what else would be kind of helpful in this area, whatever it is, I’m missing a piece to really translate this into a format, into a forum that’s going to be really, effective and helpful for young people. So because of that, my staff and I are creating an advisory committee for development of resources for young people. We’re going to be doing one set of resources for middle schoolers and another set of resources for high schoolers. The the request for these things has often come in conjunction with confirmation formation, but we’re not going to create things that are, kind of specific to that in terms that they could only be used for that. So we wanna create stuff that’s appropriate for confirmation but also can be used as a part of regular middle school theology or regular high school theology.

Jill Simons:
So that there’s resources available to people and educators who are working with this, age group who want to expose them to this beautiful theology and this beautiful reality that they will experience as they age. So if you are an educator, if you are someone with a huge heart for young people, we need you. We need you to let us know that you are interested in being part of an advisory committee in developing and creating these resources. So we are going to probably keep the group on the smaller side, probably under 20 people. So we are expecting to get more, I don’t wanna call it an application because it’s not like a formal formal process, but we are expecting more interest than that. And so we’re going to be selecting people just based on a diversity of what they’re bringing to the table. So we’d love to have educators that have worked with all ages. We’d love to have people that are more from the theology side and people that are more from the teaching side, and we’d have love to have people who are maybe primarily in religious education and people that are in other parts of education and just kinda put together a nice, diverse cross section of what it is that the Holy Spirit has brought to the Church right now to develop beautiful resources for young people because I absolutely am of one mind with everybody requesting these and and recognizing how important they are.

Jill Simons:
But I also wanna be humble and recognize my very, very substantial limitations on this front and create the form necessary to create something that’s really gonna be good and really going to serve these young people well. So if you’re interested in being on our advisory committee, I’d

Jill Simons:
love to

Jill Simons:
have you send an email to hello@ManyPartsMinistries.com, and just put in the subject line, educational advisory committee, and we will be compiling those. And if we only have, you know, 20 people interested, then we’re just gonna go with the 20 people we have. If we have more than that, we will formulate a selection process that’ll just give us a chance to hear a little bit more about you and something like that. Not gonna be formal, Not gonna be stressful. Just an opportunity to kind of, figure out who is going to best be able to kind of add to our skill set in the room. And if in that email you’ll just briefly put your experience level with young people and what it is what capacity that you have served them historically. That’ll just help us kind of build the diversity that group of people. And then if for some reason you are not selected to be on the advisory committee, everyone that sends in your request to be on the advisory committee, we’re gonna be sending out the first version of those resources too for you to kind of, read through beta test, let us know what you think about them, and give us some response to that.

Jill Simons:
So for some reason, you’re not on the advisory committee itself in the meeting, we would still love to send you those resources once we create them and have, you kind of go through them before they’re made available to the public. So we’re gonna be begin on this process this summer and hopefully have some things ready for this coming school year as, more and more people are confirmation prep and beginning their, religious education school year. So thank you so much for your openness. I already know, even though nobody has sent in an application yet, that we are going to be just inundated with people. And I just am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for lighting a fire in so many hearts, specifically for our young people. And we just are so excited to co labor with you on bringing into fruition a really great that’s going to help these young people to dream well, to imagine well, to pursue sainthood intentionally, and to dream about being the men and women that God created them to be. Thank you so much. I look forward to reading your emails, and I’ll see you next week.