Sunday, April 3, 2016


I am the youth advocate at a high school. My primary goal there is to "advocate" for my students. 

Majority of the students I work with each day are really struggling. Their struggles are varied, however, each of the individual struggles my students experience tend to have a negative affect on their performance in school. 

Two years ago I was working with a boy and our goal for the week was to go to every single class. Now, this might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but for the students I work with, this can be a very difficult task. 

To my surprise, this fifteen year old boy, (who might I add, had just had his mother pass away a few weeks prior), had a PERFECT week. Not even a single late. 

I was on cloud nine. I could not have been more proud. 

That very same day, one of his teachers spoke with me about him. She said that he was terrible. She said he never  did his work and that he was always rude and disrespectful. I stopped her right there and I asked, "Did he come to class this week?" She told me that he did. I asked, "Was he on time?" She told me that he was. I then responded, "Those were our goals this week. He accomplished the task. This week we will work on something else. He can do his work, or he can be nice, it's up to you." She told me she would like for him to be nice, so that is what we worked on. 

From this experience I realized a few things. 

1. What might not be challenging for you, could be incredibly difficult for someone else. 

This darling student of mine worked SO hard to accomplish his goals. While to some, it might have seemed like no big deal, for him, it was extremely ambitious. He was trying. I recognized his efforts, and I couldn't have been more proud of him. 

2. God recognizes our efforts.

I knew how challenging this goal was for my student to accomplish. When his teacher began complaining about him I explained that I would not "break" him. I did not expect him to "run faster than he had strength". While seemingly insignificant, he was making progress. Slowly but surely, he was moving forward. Just as I recognized and was proud of even the smallest steps in the right direction, God recognizes our effort. 

3. Christ will advocate for us. 

When approached by my student's teacher, I heard her out, but then I defended my student. I helped her recognize even the tiniest effort on his part. As their advocate, I strive to defend my students while pushing them in the right direction. I do not expect them to be perfect, but I do expect them to try. As they push forward, even when they fail, I stand by their side. Christ is literally our advocate with the Father (D&C 110:4). He is pleading your cause.

 Today during General Conference Elder Holland's talk "Tomorrow The Lord Will Do Wonders Around You", really moved me, as I am sure it did many others. In it he taught that, "The Lord blesses those who want to improve." God recognizes our effort. He blesses us for our desires to improve. God also knows that we will fall short. He knows that we are not perfect and he does not expect us to be. Holland continues, "We get credit for trying, even if we don't always succeed." 

I am so grateful to be a part of a church that believes in second chances; a church that gives credit for trying. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of my loving and merciful Heavenly Father, who despite my faults, never gives up on me. I am grateful for a Savior who advocates for me and "pleads my cause" even when my efforts have been small and insignificant. 

Click HERE to learn more about what I believe.

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