Advocating for our children is one of the most important things we can do to ensure that they have a good education, access to resources and a bright future. Our children are the future and it is vital that they are given every opportunity to succeed. Considering they cannot advocate for themselves, it is our job as supporters of the system and of our children, to provide quality education advocacy. This work, however, is not easy. Here are a few unavoidable things you will encounter while doing this work.
- It is a thankless job- Advocacy workers often do all of the work and heavy lifting for none of the glory. That should not be the goal, however. Education leaders are more powerful when they work together, so that prohibits any one person from getting all the credit for any work that was done by dozens of other advocates who selflessly and tirelessly donated their time and energy.
- There will be more no’s than yes’s- Advocacy is difficult work because you will often here resistance to things you believe are important, worthwhile and in many cases, critical. It is a frustrating landscape that can make some people feel like giving up or like they are not making a difference. The reality is, however, that among the no’s, there will be some yes’s too, and these yes’s are absolutely critical to ensuring the education system is moving in the right direction.
- It is emotionally draining- A combination of the first two items can create an emotionally drain on many people. Not being recognized for good work coupled with the feeling that you are not making a difference is disheartening and it is the place where many advocates grapple with whether or it is worth it to continue doing the work. While this is a normal feeling, it is good to remember that the feeling of being emotionally drained is for the greater good.
- It requires a lot of patience- Education advocacy work often takes a long time because it requires scientifically supported data to show improvement. Since students are in school for years, it can take years to get this data. On top of that, there are multiple hearings, legislative committees, lobbying and more that can take time to see real results from.
- The victories are some of the most rewarding parts of your life- Despite the fact that there are difficulties and hardships and setbacks when doing advocacy work, business leaders know that some of the most rewarding things in life can be the feeling of making real change in education policy. The way our kids learn is crucial to our success as a community because those kids become the business leaders of the future. When you work to help our kids succeed and you are able to change policy or provide children with necessary resources and tools, that is one of the best feelings you will ever have and it is what will keep you going in your advocacy career for years to come.