Monday, February 22, 2010

To Be an Advocate

I have thought a lot lately about what it means to be an advocate...primarily, an advocate for children. A couple of years ago, I "officially" became an advocate for Compassion International which started my thoughts about what it means to be an advocate for children in poverty all over the world. My involvement with Compassion has a lot to do with why I am now becoming a teacher. Through Compassion I discovered my desire to make an impact in the lives of children, a real lasting impact, and what better way to do that then to become a teacher? Too bad it has taken me all this time to figure that out! Now as I am in classes about elementary education and becoming a teacher, I keep hearing that word...advocate. And I have thought more and more about what that means, both in the context of my heart for children around the world, as well as in the context of those students who will be in my classroom in the future.

As I think about children in my class one day, I think about children who will have little to no parental involvement in their lives. I think about children who may or may not have hot meals over the weekend when they leave school. I think about children who are struggling but desire to learn. I will not only be a teacher to these children, but I will be a comfort when they are hurting. I will be their voice when they cannot speak up for themselves. I will care about them not just as students or pupils, but as people who need to be invested in, cared for, and loved. I will be their advocate.

As I think about the children all over this world, many of which who live in poverty, I think of Susan, my sponsored child in Uganda. I think of a beautiful group of young girls in the Philippines that I spent an afternoon with giggling and playing. I think of children in Haiti that have hope, even in the midst of tragedy. And I think of the beautiful faces of children that I met recently in Kenya. As I was in Kenya, I realized that it is not by chance that I have heard and learned their stories. So, it is my responsibility to tell those stories. To be the voice for the millions of children who are not being heard. To love and care about these children enough to tell other people about them. So over the next few days that is what I will do. I will tell their stories. I will be their advocate.

I like the Webster's dictionary definition that defines an advocate as "one who pleads the cause of another and supports or promotes the interest of another." I hope that is what I can be for any child that God may put in my life or in my care.

P.S. I am still keeping up with my Bible reading too! Finally caught up from Kenya.

Today's Reading: Leviticus 11-14

"For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy."
-Leviticus 11:44

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