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Monday, October 28, 2013


In our modern world, we are used to the idea of everyone being able to become what they want to be. Every child starts out with a blank slate that can be filled any number of ways. One child might show a tendency at an early age to be a reader, a thinker, a creator of new stories and new worlds. Another might be the kid who has to take everything apart and figure out how it works. This child might grow up to be an inventor, a scientist, a doctor, a mechanic, a researcher that finds cures for diseases. Their sibling might be the natural-born athlete, the one who jumps into the deep end of the swimming pool and glides through the water like a fish, and ends up competing at the Olympics.

As parents, friends, or family members who welcome a new child into the world, we are full of hope for the life of this new little human. We hope that they will be able to find their way in their life, and find something that makes them joyful. Perhaps they will stumble along the way. They may seem confused about what their role is in this world, but they keep trying to find and fulfill it. And we hope that life will not leave them battle-scarred, although there are chances that it might. We can only teach and guide and love them, and hope for the best, and wish them happiness.

And, sadly, the places where children are born have a direct impact on what choices will be available to them in their lives. Sometimes there are many odds against them. Disease and famine may cut their precious lives short. Their cultures may also dictate what choices, if any, they will have, and whether they have an opportunity to shape their own future. Poverty, traditions, and gender roles may play a part in what their life will become. The location of one's birth can forge one's destiny. A little girl might become a mother, teacher, filmmaker, physician, sex worker, farmer, mathematician, astronaut, or philanthropist, all influenced by the circumstances of her birth.

I imagine that you might be wondering why I am waxing so philosophical tonight. It's very simple. I looked at a picture of Prince George of England and felt sorry for him. Yes, he was born into a wealthy family. He will most likely attend private schools. He has a nanny. His grandmum is the Queen of England. He will have access to the best of nutrition and healthcare, and is surrounded by people who love him. But like his father and grandfather before him, his future has been planned for him as a result of his birth. Although he might wish he could be a gentleman farmer or an actor or a cake decorator, he has no choice in the matter. His destiny has been chosen from birth. He must eventually be the King. With all of the resources at his disposal, he has no choice over his destiny. I hope that he will be happy with what life has dealt him. But even in a Disney movie, it isn't always fun being born a Prince.

It's sort of interesting, when you think about it, that a child born of moderate means can have a whole world of opportunities at their disposal, while a child born into wealth and power has very few choices at all. Kind of makes me think that the luck of the draw isn't always what we think it is...