Thursday, April 22, 2010


There are tons of acronyms out you know what the one above stands for??

Take Your Child To Work Day.

That was the other 'holiday' celebrated today, besides Earth Day.

I don't remember this holiday from my childhood. That's easily explained... it started in 1993 (according to Wikipedia), the year I graduated high school. So, I never got taken to work with either of my parents. At least not on this official date.

I did go to work with my dad quite a bit during the summer or weekends. He was a university professor, and had lots of flexibility with his job I guess. As long as he taught his classes and did his research, I don't think it mattered if I was there. I recall both his office and his lab (where he did the aforementioned research) on campus. I also remember him bringing work home and doing it in the evenings after dinner. I remember walking down to the secretary's office and that they knew my name. I remember having lunch out at the picnic table with him and his fellow professors (I knew them all by last name, and it took me years to understand why they referred to each other that way!). I remember him playing his classical music as he wrote on his yellow lined legal pads and talked to me about lemna and all kinds of other thrilling things!

I remember my mother's office well too. In my early elementary years, she worked full-time 20 miles from our house and was gone long hours. I vagely recall visiting that office once or twice. By the time I reached middle school, her office was the downstairs 'bedroom' in our house. She worked from home as an independent contractor long before that was the fashionable thing to do! I do remember going with her to drop off projects that she had completed at home. She worked late into the night, and on weekends, to complete the projects to fit them in around other activities that were going on. I can still picture the wall full of technical dictionaries that help her do her job (mostly because the wall is still there and full of them!). I am still amazed by the mere fact that my mother speaks/reads/understands (at various levels) seven different languages!!

I do recall TYCTWD from about 5-8 years ago, when I was working in Human Resources. Part of my job was to coordinate activities for the children who would be coming to work with their parents. You know, fun activities that would keep children interested and entertained, while their parents worked. So what was the point in bringing your child to work with you?

Why am I reminiscing about this? Since this post brought the subject to my attention.

While there are lots of valid points in both the article and the comments, there are also, of course, a few shallow, poorly communicated comments too. In particular this one,

"Kids don't need to be taught to run a household. I'm sorry, but it's not rocket science. It's something that everyone, unless they can afford multiple maids and a personal assistant, has to learn to do sooner or later. So why do they need to do it at age 8? Let them be kids. My parents let me be a kid and didn't "teach" me how to cook, do laundry, or clean the stove, but I learned by watching them, and I can run a household just fine, working outside the home or not.

In my mind, "difficult" is something that only a few people can do well. LOTS of people are good parents, and lots more run a household well, so how "difficult" can it be? I don't want my daughter growing up to think life is difficult."
WOW! There are so many issues to hit in this one small comment.

Yes, it's something everyone has to learn to do sooner or later. I wasn't instantly good at budgeting (talk about a lot of credit card debt right out of college), but it's an important skill to have running a household. What about finding a decent/reliable/honest/trustworthy contractor if you want to have renovations/remodeling done. Lots of people hire contractors only to get "taken to the cleaners" by them! Don't believe me, trying watching "Holmes on Homes" on HGTV. Maybe it's worth helping your children learn how to find a reputable service provider. Or, helping them learn how to mow the lawn, fix the clogged toilet, or vacuum the carpet so they don't have to hire someone to do it, but can handle (at least the basic) responsibilities of home-ownership themselves.

Maybe it's all about the word "teach". Both my boys are learning to cook and do laundry, and a number of other things! At an age appropriate level. Right now that means helping me measure items for a recipe for dinner, loading the dishwasher, or helping carry down the laundry basket and load the machine. They don't know how to do that without some input, supervision, and direction from me. I would call that "teaching". As part of our family, they have a duty to contribute to our family and to help us have a functional household. Let me tell you, if I'm the only one doing laundry, dishes, and cooking we DO NOT have a functional house.....cause I get CRANKY!!! My kids get plenty of chances to "be kids" to play and have fun and dream and imagine. But they also have a right and a responsibility to be a contributing useful member of our family, so they can grow up to do the same for our society!!

I think the most offensive part of the comment to me is that "LOTS of people are good parents". Really? I guess it's all in how you define good. Maybe it's just how flippant this comment sounds. As if it's SO easy to be a good parent....duh! I'm not trying to insult the MANY good parents that are out there. But at the same time, there are many who could use some amount of help, some more than others. Many parents recognize that and they read parenting books, go to seminars, talk with experts, or just talk to other parents. We seek out information, we seek to be "taught" to be the best we can be. I've done all of the above to help myself be a better parent because my kids are worth it! And is "good" really good enough? No matter how good a parent you are, can't you always strive to do better? I want to be the best parent I can be! I worry that if we assume our kids will be good parents, because it's "easy", that they won't realize what a challenge it is to do well, and that it's okay to ask for help if you don't know how to do it (parenting, or anything else).

As a former teacher it frustrated me to no end that I had 4 years of college education, but got little respect from some of the parents at the school I was at because I wasn't a parent. Pardon me, but the last time I checked I had a 4-year degree, and all it took to be a parent was a little action in the backseat of a Chevy!!

If LOTS of people are good parents, there wouldn't be nearly the number of foster children that there are in the US. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, "On September 30, 2006, there were an estimated 510,000 children in foster care. " According to ChildHelp, "In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations. " That's way too many not good parents for me! And what about all those children that "fall through the cracks".

In my current situation, I take my children to work with me everyday.....they are my work. (Work that is often devalued by people who work outside the home-but that's a topic for another day.) But what the initial article has brought to my attention is that today, and every other day, it is important for our children to be exposed to all the various career choices that are out there....including being a stay-at-home-parent (whether girl or BOY!).

Yes, I guess 'everyone' can learn to do it, but why not help both our sons and daughters learn to do it well!! Oh, and by the way, life is difficult, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, so bring on the difficult!

1 comment:

Joanna said...

This is something I posted today when someone asked what you hoped your kids would learn from take your kids to work day.

I own my own business from home, so I can take my kids to work everyday. I hope that they learn that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it and work what you are passionate for and not fall into the traditional roles of Mom and Dad. I expect more from them as was not expected of me.