When I was in kindergarten, my mom, a social worker, asked me what my favorite activity was.
It was a question I had heard many times.
“Do you know what your favorite activity is?” she said.
“You’re going to have to tell me.”
My answer was a simple one: “Oh, I like playing with my dolls.”
And then she added, “You can tell me about that when you tell me what your biggest problem is.”
She asked me to tell her about all the times that I had to explain to my mom that playing with dolls and doing other silly things was actually a problem for my child.
I couldn’t even imagine what her reaction would be if I told her about the times I had no idea how to say, “Sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this,” to a kid who was already in trouble with the law for being disrespectful to her.
She didn’t understand how I was able to be such a big, confident person, because I was just too insecure.
That’s the thing about being a child advocates: You don’t have to be a “child advocate.”
I had the privilege of being a kid advocate, and I was lucky to have a mom who genuinely cared for me and who cared for all of us as children.
But we don’t live in a vacuum.
When a kid has a problem, parents are called on to do the hard work of caring for that kid.
But child advocates are rarely the first ones on the scene.
The most important job of a child advocacy worker is to help kids who need a voice and a safe space.
A child advocate’s job is to keep kids in the dark about the things that are causing them problems, to protect them from the harm that might befall them, and to provide support.
We need to stop being so protective of children when we don-t want them to be.
When we are too protective, they can become targets for bullying and abuse, or they can be the victims of physical abuse.
But when we’re too supportive, we allow children to become targets of hate.
I remember when my parents were working in a child protection agency.
We were called on all the time, especially after the Columbine shootings.
When one of our kids was the victim of a hate crime, we had to make sure the agency was staffed with children.
We also needed to keep children from getting involved in illegal activity or being hurt or even killed.
We didn’t have time to talk to them, or to talk with our clients about their problems.
We weren’t equipped to deal with the children’s needs.
But it wasn’t enough to simply say, I’m sorry, but there’s something you need to do about this.
We needed to do more than just tell kids what to do.
We had to help them find a way to work through their issues, find a safe place to talk, and be a part of the solution.
So we started to think about what we could do to help.
In our early days, we tried to find a child care center that would accept children who were on the autism spectrum, and we found a lot of great programs.
At one center, our son had a job as a driver for a gas station.
Our first priority was to help him be safe and comfortable and have access to the services he needed.
The next priority was that he had a safe environment for him to play with the toys that he loved.
We called him the “boy with a toy.”
I called him “the toy boy.”
I didn’t want him to have the same fears that I did.
But in doing this work, I learned a lot about what a safe, supportive home can look like.
We realized that when we give our kids the space and the support that they need, they have the ability to be the best version of themselves.
And that means being able to love them unconditionally.
That was the lesson I learned as a child, about being loved unconditionally, because it makes them who they are.
The hardest part of being an advocate is telling your kids that they’re important.
Kids need your attention and support.
Kids don’t need your protection.
They need your love and understanding.
They don’t even need you to understand their problems because you know you can help.
When I learned about my own experience of being the “big boy” with the “little boy,” I learned that I needed to get to know my child, too.
And it took years of being alone with my child and listening to him, reading books about him, and doing all the things I’d never done to be able to see him like a child.
But I knew I had a responsibility to do that.
And I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to be in the same place as a kid when you know them, too, than it is to just say, You can be whatever you want to be if you’re in a room with a