The Reason We Belong
In our homes, in our families, in our communities, in our workplaces, in our cities, in our nation, we belong. That feeling of belonging should raise in our hearts a sense of duty to take responsibility and ensure that these places where we belong do not only survive but thrive.
This is a call to take the passion we feel for the places where we belong to a higher level; a level where we know and act like no one can fix the things that are going wrong except we individually and collectively choose to take definitive action.
I believe that the reason why we belong is because belonging, in its true essence, breeds a greater sense of responsibility, and so we can go through hell and high waters to make the required changes in the areas where change is necessary where we belong.
The challenge usually is that when problems have festered for a long time, starting to work on them can prove very daunting, and so it can be tempting to just let the problem continue (maintain status quo) instead of doing something to fix things. The story of a Kenyan boy, Richard Turere, who created an invention that provided a holistic solution to the problem of lions attacking and killing animals in his father’s farm is inspiring and also very apt for buttressing the point I am making that we owe it as a duty to solve the problems that plague the places where we belong.
Richard, a boy of 6 at the time, grew up in a community where it is commonplace for lions from the Nairobi National Park to roam into farms and eat livestock reared in farms in his community. In response, his community warriors usually kill the lions, and this led to a reduction in the number of lions in the National Park. Richard then takes it upon himself to find a lasting solution to the problem which will not only protect the livestock on his father’s farm but also keep the lions away from possible death at the hands of the warriors. His solution, a system of flashing lights that tricks the lions into believing that someone is walking about the farm with a torchlight is the result of many attempts at solving the problem with many different methods ranging from fire to using scarecrows and then walking around the farm himself with a torchlight. Richard’s solution is so effective that it is now being used by many other farms in his community to scare lions away, and even across Kenya to scare other predators away from people’s farms. Also, it is used to scare elephants away from trampling down crops on farms.
What started as the need to solve a personal problem has turned out to be a solution to a national problem. This is passion and love for community in full display.
The possibilities are limitless if we can all start today to observe, think through, and evolve solutions to the problems in our homes, families, communities, workplaces, cities, and nation. You see, no one understands the issues better than you do so that puts you in the best position to develop a solution that addresses all the issues at stake; a solution that is not only effective but sustainable.
Will you respond to this call today to take your sense of belonging to the next level and be the solution to the problems in the places where you belong?
A place plagued with problems presents endless opportunities to develop ingenious solutions that add value to you the solution provider and to the place where you belong. Richard for example has gained recognition, a scholarship to one of Kenya’s best schools, and an opportunity to give a TED talk in the United States of America as a result of his work, but beyond these external rewards for his work, an even greater reward is the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that comes from being able to provide a solution to a problem. Even if fulfillment is all the reward you get, let it be enough to spur you on to taking even more responsibility for the places where you belong.
This, in my opinion, is a good reason to belong.