The essential art of not giving a *uck

When we advocate for kids we often get to a point where we have to make a soulful choice between giving up or continuing the fight.

What do advocates for kids fight for? Among other things we fight for things like equity, access to learning that is purposeful and meaningful, access to materials and assignments that are worthy of a child’s time. Or we advocate for access to facilities that are clean and well-kept and well-stocked with everything that will nurture a child’s curiosity. We advocate for health, wellbeing, and safety.

Why is there a soulful choice to be made for so many advocates? Because usually those that work on behalf of or for children are intensely passionate. Their drive (their “end game”) is the improvement of the lives of kids.

Their frustration lies in the complexities of the systems and services that are intended to serve our children well.

Systematic change in educational systems take up to 10 years to be fully realized. Those who care for children before they enter kindergarten are among the lowest paid professionals in our country. Social workers and caseworkers are underpaid, undervalued, and highly important to our children.

How can it not be hard to advocate when you are facing an uphill battle?

When you’re advocating for kids it becomes hard. Hard, because you essentially have to choose at some point between fighting for what’s best for kids or just letting the system consume them.

You advocate, and are told, “Sorry we can’t do that.” You advocate, and are told “I agree 100% but I just can’t make it happen.” You advocate, and are told “Yes we will do that,” and then it never happens.

The trials and discomforts of being an advocate for kids are many. But when you get it right, change happens, and kids are better because of your hard fought advocacy; there is absolutely no better win.

But when the systems and the people that are the focus on the change you are advocating for see you as someone that is against them, things can become more dire. When the systems and people that are the focus of the change you want to see interpret your suggestions or the point of your advocacy as unnecessary or inconvenient then things can become more frustrating. It is at these times that advocates make that soulful choice; between continuing the fight and giving up.

And if your decision is to keep up the fight, you might just have to adopt the essential art of not giving a fuck.

What is this art, you ask? It’s the mental mindset that empowers advocates to keep going.

It is the point in time when you realize that if you give up (even something small) it is a loss for our children. Children who need support for the people who love them don’t get it. Children who need the affirmation that in this world they are valued, don’t receive it. Children who deserve to thrive, are stifled.

This art, is about moving ahead when no one wants to run beside you. This art, is about asking forgiveness rather than permission; or even saying “Fu*k it, I really don’t need permission or forgiveness… these kids deserve it.”

This art is about moving forward, communicating your plan, executing the plan, clarifying any new position, and in the end knowing that you’ve done every single thing you can do to make the life of a child better. You’ve done so by making their learning more purposeful, their environments in which they learn more flexible, or their families feel more safe and secure.

This art is powered by being educated and aware of the outcomes for your actions. It is being aware that sometimes you have to follow the research, because it is your wingman.

So if you’re stuck between two soulful choices (giving up or continuing the fight) consider the options that the essential art of not giving a f*ck can provide you.

Will you be more empowered if you just say “I don’t give a fu**?” Will you be more successful if you just think, “I really do not give a f**k if you don’t want me to, I’m doing this.” Would you have more faith in yourself if you simply said, “Fu*k the system, if it can’t change I will simply go around it”?

The simple and essential art of not giving a fu*k is about one thing: if you are advocating for children in complex systems, you can be held back by the system or you can simply move ahead. Move ahead by doing what is been proven to be best for kids. Move ahead without fear and without the need for permission; move ahead because you’ve done your research and its tome; move ahead because you simply don’t give a fu*k about following rules of a system when you arent part of that system.

This is an art for the passionate. This is an art for the fearless. This is an art for the advocates.