The "SECRET" of Advocacy

By: Dr. Kari Oyen, NASP GPR Committee Member, South Dakota President Elect, GPR Central Region Coordinator 

I can remember in the late 2000s when there was a craze that swept the nation around this book called, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Widespread pandemonium centered on the critical question, what is this "secret?" How can I find out this "secret?" How come everyone who knows the "secret" has an exponentially better life existence? 

Being one who is not without curiosity, I purchased the book and began to flip the pages to try to discern this beloved secret for myself. As I read through the book, it became very clear to me: This secret was really no secret at all. The book states something that my mother told me a very long time ago, "The told story becomes reality."  Basically, if we believe that good will happen and work toward that good happening, eventually, the good will happen. 

Now, the book went on to make some substantial claims about riches and fame that could accompany living out The Secret, none of which I found to be outwardly believable or grounded in fact. However, this fundamental truth of belief in the good of humanity has stuck with me. This brings me to the connection of The Secret to advocacy. Advocacy itself is a word that appears to imply some sort of prestige or advanced training to implement. To be an advocate can be a very overwhelming idea for many people. The idea that we stand up for children and for our profession can seem intimidating for some. After all, public speaking is considered the number one fear among the population! 

I'm here to tell you the secret of advocacy is that it is not overly dignified or prestigious. It does not require a PhD or a medal of honor. The secret is that you simply have to believe that all children deserve the best that our society has to offer, want best practices for our profession, and act out this truth every day. Talk to those around you about best practices. Stand up for a student in your district who needs someone to stand up for them. Create relationships with those around you, so that they know you are someone who is an ally and who does what is best for kids. Just do something! If you have some extra time, go ahead and write a letter to a representative or tweet a senator, and who knows. The secret of advocacy might just become a part of you too!

For more advocacy related resources, visit: