In a world of divisions and margins, those who act, look, and grow a little differently are all too often shoved aside. Scoot Over and Make Some Room is part inspiring narrative and part encouraging challenge for us all to listen and learn from those we’re prone to ignore.
Author Heather Avis tells hilarious stories of her growing kids, spontaneous dance parties, forgotten pants, and navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood. She shares heartbreaking moments when her kids were denied a place at the table and when she had to fight for their voices to be heard. With beautiful wisdom and profound convictions, this manifesto will empower you to notice who’s missing in the spaces you live in, to make room for your own kids and for those others who need you and your open heart.
This is your invitation to a table where space is unlimited and every voice can be heard. Because when you open your life to the wild beauty of every unique individual, you’ll discover your own colorful soul and the extraordinary, abundant heart of God.
Scoot Over and Make Some Room is available everywhere books are sold.
As an author and speaker, I have lost count of the number of people who have approached me telling me they think they have a story to tell but they question if it is worth telling because their platform is not grand or does not reach the masses. To them I say, foolishness! The truth is, every single one of us is living out a story, God’s story, and whether we have the ears of one or one million it is a story worth shouting from the rooftops. I feel so passionately about the importance of telling our stories that I dedicated a whole chapter in my book, Scoot Over and Make Some Room, to this very idea:
CHAPTER 15: OWN YOUR INFLUENCE
I know there are stories being lived out that would make a much better book than any I could write. But I also know that this doesn’t mean my story should not be written. My voice is important and my story is sacred because they are mine, and I have chosen to share them with the world.
This is a truth that is worth repeating: my voice is important and my story is sacred because they are mine. And dear reader, your voice is important and your story is sacred because they are yours.
Look, some of us have much louder voices than others. Sriracha mamas, you know who you are. Some people in this world shout simply for the purpose of shouting. And many people feel overlooked and undervalued simply because their vocal cords don’t match the decibel levels of those around them. Any marmalade mamas want to say amen? If you have a loud voice, use it. If you speak in a mere whisper, speak. It doesn’t matter how loud your voice is; what matters is that you use it. And when you do, know that your words have power and influence, so be wise and be thoughtful, but own it.
At the same time, remember that speaking and listening are a matched pair—never exercise one without the other. If we believe our words and stories are powerful and we choose to share them within our spheres of influence, then we also have to affirm the power of listening—and diligently practice both. We do not share our stories to make others feel the need to compare their lives to ours, and we do not listen to the stories of others to compare our lives to theirs. We share our stories and listen to the stories of others so we can better understand one another and feel a greater sense of connectedness. When we see how we are connected to others, we can more clearly see the influence we have on the world.
When I think about people who have had great influence, few compare with Mother Teresa. Her influence has spread across the entire world. Movies have been made and books have been written about her life. When she was alive, she was honored with numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2016, just nine years after her death, she was canonized as a saint. After winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she was asked by a reporter, “What can we do to promote world peace?” Here’s the advice this world-changing saint gave to the rest of us who want to follow in her footsteps: “Go home and love your family.” Boom …
We don’t need to do something on a grand scale in order to have grand influence. What makes our influence grand is simply choosing to step into it.
In a world where we are encouraged to think the power of our influence hinges on Instagram likes and YouTube videos going viral, it can be tempting to believe that unless we have a large following or platform, our influence is insignificant. But the truth is, our greatest influence is right where Mother Teresa said it is—in our homes, with the kids we are raising, and in our communities, with the people we’re doing life alongside. Our influence is in the places and in the ways we show up.
Once we understand the power of our voice and the impact of our influence, we can truly begin to do the hard work required to make space in this world for the people who tend to be left out. It will require us to scoot over first if we want our kids to be the kind of people who scoot over and make some room for others as well.
So let’s do it, friends. Let’s step up onto the stages in our lives and with boldness, humility, and vulnerability speak into the microphone and share our stories with the world. Then as boldly and humbly and vulnerably as we spoke, let’s hand the mic to someone else and sit and listen as others do the same. We can always leave a seat open for the other. And when we do, we create an opportunity to see the fullness of God by seeing his fullness in the lives of the other—and in so doing, we create a space for everyone to belong.