“The world could be fixed of its problems if every child understood the necessity of their existence.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
Every single person on this planet has a right to be here. If you are alive, you have the right. If you are breathing, the right. If you have a pulse, you have that right. When God dreamed you up and breathed life into you and put you on this planet, you were granted that right. People will tell you otherwise. Maybe you have been waiting your whole life for someone to give you permission to feel like you belong. And maybe the world, or even the very people who are supposed to communicate love, belonging, and acceptance have communicated the antithesis.
So many of us go through life thinking that we each have a place and that place is small. Life and circumstances continually remind us of these places. Where we do and do not belong. What class we are born into. What section we can and cannot sit in. When we cross a line or a boundary and our hands get smacked. We are told to get back in line, to get back in our places. Or we are told that even the very small places we do inhabit are wrong. We speak up and we are told to be silent because we are the wrong gender. The wrong color. And we are filled with shame.
You should have been a boy.
You should have been white.
You should be more masculine.
You should be more feminine.
You should have been born to another family.
You should not have been born at all.
I remember walking into a wealthy, predominantly white private school for a robotics competition that my son and my daughter recently participated in. I immediately felt like I didn’t belong there. We couldn’t afford to send our kids to this school. Insecurities and thoughts of inadequacies filled my head: Everyone else was probably richer, smarter, etc. What were we doing here? We are imposters! I ran to the bathroom, red and warm in the face, feeling shame for not fitting in. For not belonging. And I started crying. And then I began to pray. For myself. For my children. And for every child who was ever told or has ever felt that they didn’t belong. That they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And I was immediately filled with a sense that I have every right to be here. I’m smart. My kids are smart. We are alive. We share this planet with 7 billion of our brothers and sisters. We have all been given the chance to carve a place for ourselves. To fully inhabit the space which we have been given.
And maybe to even outgrow it.
I cannot control when and where I am born. But I can carve my place in this world. I can make the most of the place which I have been given. The space in which I inhabit. It is my God-given right and my pursuit of happiness.
Voices will tell you to get back where you belong. Voices will threaten you. Ignore them.
If you weren’t here, then the world could not function as it should. You are indispensable. No matter who you are. No matter where you are or what station of life you find yourself in. You are every bit as qualified for this life as the person sitting next to you.
Fight for it. The world needs you. And it needs me too.