I never aspired to become an advocate. I didn’t know enough about the issues, I couldn’t balance that with my work and family life. I promised myself that I would focus on raising good kids, being a high quality educator and overall trying to be a kind human being.
This year I finally admitted that wasn’t enough.
It was a lovely sentiment to say I was going to focusing on being good and raising good kids, but that didn’t mean I was off the hook for sharing what I knew about the importance of early learning and museums and making sure that decision makers knew I cared and I was watching them. It is not a role that comes naturally to me, but I was determined.
But, the fact still remained that I didn’t feel educated enough about the issues or how to voice them in a way that people would listen to. I read articles and followed the change makers on social media, but I needed some more direct teaching. That was why I requested (Begged? Nagged? Pleaded?) To be part of the Virginia team for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Public Policy Forum. I knew that I would get some focus, some foundation and a chance to test out this new part I was committed to playing.
And that was exactly what it did. To poorly paraphrase one of the speakers, on Sunday we got our introduction, on Monday we got our content and on Tuesday we took action. Having the chance to take these skills and information and apply it, guided by others who had more experience, gave me more confidence then reading 1,000 articles ever could.
But now, it is Wednesday (proverbially) and it is up to me to figure out how to keep the momentum going and not just make an impact but be a supporter for early learning that can be counted on. I don’t have solid game plan yet, but thanks to the Public Policy Forum I at least feel I am on the right track.
PS: my museum colleagues, I would have done the American Alliance of Museum advocacy days…but they were exactly the same as NAEYC 🙂