For The Children Weekly Column

You Can Prevent a Crisis of Faith in Children’s Policy

Eight out of 10 Americans celebrated the Easter holiday Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation. It is a day of great religious significance for the 63% of Americans who classify themselves as Christians, so many more people recognize aspects of the holiday. Easter also is a big donation day for U.S. churches, seeing the year’s highest church attendance rates. Beyond faith-based giving, consumer spending was expected to reach a total of $22.4 billion tied to the holiday.

For Christians, Easter represents the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the revelation of God’s plan for all people. In commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus, Easter also celebrates the defeat of death and the hope of salvation. Easter commemorates Faith in the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life for Christians.

It is important to understand the difference in Faith (in religious beliefs) and faith (belief that outcomes will happen). So, how important is Faith and faith? For those who are believers in religious doctrine, it is the most important part of those teachings. With other things though, a different faith helps keep individuals moving forward toward goals.

The lowercase “faith” is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  So, I will ask you: What do you place faith in with your own lives? It could be a paycheck coming on time, gathering with relatives on a holiday, or simply waking up each day. For nonprofits, we hold faith that we will raise sufficient funds for our work, just like churches hope parishioners provide sufficient tithing. But with faith, work is also needed.

For me, I try my best to have faith in the process of improving lives through the work of elected officials. Obviously, that can be dangerous when relying on individuals who oftentimes have agendas which do not align with my own world view. It is faith that keeps me going to find common ground for the common good.

Just like in religious Faith, a degree of education with the teachings in whatever religious doctrine a person follows is necessary. Similarly, advocates must do their work to convey the message about why a direction is needed with policy. In the world of advocacy, we must have faith that the individuals in power will do what we consider the “right” thing, but much of that comes from education and follow-through. Most people do not show up to church without some type of communication, and similarly, most policymakers do not come to see the best outcomes without shared stories of lived experiences from advocates.

That is why the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was created four decades ago, to ensure that those measurable outcomes are delivered. That is also why, just like in religion, emissaries must convey the information needed for action.

It takes effort up-front to explain why it is important to have programs which ensure hungry children are fed, that children need health insurance, or why struggling children need educational programs. Advocates are key to helping elected officials gain the knowledge necessary to make the right decisions.

Do I have faith that adequate policies will take care of Oklahoma’s children? Yes, but only because of the positive work of advocates.

If you have a crisis of faith in the action of policymakers, then join OICA in our mission to make Oklahoma better. Go to to learn more on how you can help us do more to improve the lives of Oklahoma’s children, because anything less is not enough for our youngest residents. Please help me keep the faith!