Ask anyone to name the most important people in their lives, those who have made the biggest impact on who they are as a person, on how they have grown over the years, and you will invariably get a list of teachers, coaches, parents, siblings, friends, employers, and the like. The unifying attribute amongst the most important people is that each role entails a staunch advocate, an unwavering supporter. Whether a teacher, coach, parent, mentor, older sibling or simply a good friend, each one takes on the role of an advocate. Cheering from the sidelines, pushing and prodding when one has all but given up.
The classic role of an advocate is that of one who takes up the cause of another, who petitions on another’s behalf. It is the one who battles and wars for the benefit of another, who will not be silent or stand by when outside forces attempt to trample them underfoot. These are the lawyers who entreat on behalf of their clients, the loyal friends who look for ways to bolster one another up. These are the competitors who make one another better, mutually advocating for one another to achieve a higher goal.
The outstanding advocates in our lives advocate not only on our behalf to others, but on our behalf to ourselves. These are the parents who consistently demonstrate uncompromising standards combined with unconditional love. These are the coaches who exhort towards excellence from the sidelines. These are the friends who say “I always knew” when success is achieved. These are the teachers who stay after hours to challenge their students, the free thinking pastors denying both culture and denomination in a quest for truth, meandering though the way may be.
When we give up on ourselves, they remind us of our worth, our value, how far we have come, and the prize which lays at the finish line. When we overextend ourselves, they speak caution and calm, reminding us that a long journey is ahead. When we lose our way they are our compass. When we forget all that surrounds us, they are our map.
The best people are advocates. The best part of a person advocates on behalf of another. Who are we advocating for? For whom have we come alongside to push a heavy cart and lighten their burden. For whom are we cheering for, willing on to success? Who knows that we are in their corner no matter what, there to prop them up, encourage them, and bolster them as they get back into the fight. Do we advocate on their behalf to others, and just as important, to themselves as well?
In gratitude for the advocates who are in our corner, looking towards being ever better advocates for others in the future.