Sommer Poquette

I wasn’t going to include this at Green and Clean Mom but then I saw my friend Lynn posted a great article on advocating for your child and thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts with you. The word “advocate” seems pretty powerful and broad, actually it scares some people. If they advocate for something they stand on some line voicing an opinion and taking a stand. A stand in something they believe in. All parents believe in their child so it makes perfect sense to be your child’s advocate but like Lynn points out, what does this mean?

Each person finds advocating for their child to be a challenge when there is a problem. It means asking questions, pressing buttons, writing letters and it could mean hurt feelings if other children and families are involved. It means speaking up if you are shy and realizing that your little one needs you to speak up. This can be tough and each parent has their own philosophy and belief on when is or isn’t the time to stand up for a child. For example, some parents think kids need to handle their own fights and problems on the playground and “toughin” up but when does the line get crossed? It’s touchy. I think in life we’ll all find different times to advocate for our child. I’ve had to do this with doctors and in the hospital for my two year old and that meant not being popular and even raising my voice but it was what I felt was right for her as her mom. Then there is the bigger picture of advocating like for the Kids Safe Chemical Act or for paid leave or universal health care for children.

Besides, most of my readers knowing I’m an advocate for the Kid Safe Chemical Act and protecting our kids against harmful chemical exposure I do hold other issues dear and near to my heart. Personally, I’m an advocate for early childhood programs and services in Michigan. I believe our kids need a good start to life and with the economy there is no better time to invest in our children. I believe in the free preschool programs, nurses coming to do home visits and services that target the 0-5 population. I have seen these services do wonders for children and families and I have used these services both when I was a child and for my children. I had the baby blues and a horrible first experience breast feeding and the home visiting nurse was my shoulder to cry on and the lady that “rescued” me from my emotions of misery. That is priceless in my eyes.

So many people are in poverty right now but even when the economy was great there was poverty. We all have stereotypes about those in poverty but I’m quit certain that those new to this economic state are thinking very differently right now and seeing life through a different pair of shades. In my professional teaching experience I learned that poverty isn’t what I thought it was and that services and programs for our young children are just that – for the young children. The children that don’t choose to have parents without jobs or no food on the table. I have seen 0-5 programming and budgets do the most amazing things and the idea that when more people are losing jobs we would not support early childhood programs and services but cut those budgets – it makes me very sad and sick to my stomach.

I know we can’t all spend hours and hours advocating for everything and that it is tough to advocate for our children and their individual issues as well as bigger issues that impact a mass of people but I ask you to think about this and realize that you’re a constituent and voted law makers into office and you can tell them how you want to see tax dollars spent – whatever the issue is for you. That’s what makes living in the United States so amazing, we get to have a voice and can make a difference. We don’t have to all think the same or believe the same thing and if being an advocate for the Kids Safe Chemical Act isn’t your thing than fine but it is mine and I’m going to voice this and will agree to disagree with you.

Vocal, however, is what I will be when it comes to talking to the decision makers because trying to persuade someone who doesn’t sign a bill or I didn’t vote into office can be useless. I think being vocal with out law makers is crucial and the squeaky wheel gets the grease so be squeaky about what you hold near and dear to your heart. Below is how I spent my day yesterday and I’m very proud of what my son and I did and how we spent the day and after seeing the thousands of moms, dads, kids, teachers and concerned citizens I can proudly say I felt hope, passion, inspiration and that we were heard. I recommend checking out Mom’s Rising and getting involved and let your voice be heard. If you’re in Michigan visit the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and nationally you can support health care for our children at Speak Now for Kids.

Why not? Great tips for free!

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