Today is apparently Take Your Children to Work Day, and lots of different company weblogs are sharing photographs and amusing stories about children getting a taste of work life, presumably without the boring meetings, frustrating budget cuts and office politics.
But I’m a work-at-home Dad and even if I wasn’t, can’t imagine the appeal of this particular event. I mean, if you’re highly involved with both your job and your family, then aren’t your kids already visiting your office to meet Mom or Dad for lunch, or coming with on the weekend when you need to pop in for 30 minutes, or even going to social events with your colleagues and their children?
The more I think about Take Your Children to Work Day, though, the more I think that everyone would get a lot more out of the opposite event, a Take Your Parents to School Day where the parents would step out of their work shoes and into the classroom.
You’d sit through lessons, hang out on the playground during recess, have lunch with your children and their friends, and connect not just with the teachers and students, but also with other parents, particularly the parents of your children’s best friends.
Unfortunately, the message that many children have received with school is that it’s more of a place to ‘do time’ until you can get into the workforce and start earning money and therefore buying stuff and joining the happy consumer culture of the modern world. That being the case, it’s totally okay to take a child from class (“it’s only a day”) but likely much more problematic for parents to take a day off from work to be at their children’s schools.
Home worker or office worker, when was the last time you sat through a few hours of your child’s school day?
The last time? Hmmm… Tuesday. 🙂
Every Tuesday, in fact, I go to my son’s classroom and read with small groups of students. I am also “helper mom” in my daughter’s Kindergarden class fairly regularly. I am lucky to have a good friend to trade babysitting with so that we can both volunteer at our respective schools. My husband takes his turns of being “helper dad”, does recess duty several times a year and attends partys and field trips pretty regularly. This afternoon he will be with my son’s class for several hours for a retreat. It is a wonderful way to get to know the other kids in school and teachers. Plus, the kids LOVE it. They may get to an age where they don’t, so we are taking full advantage of it now
I am the chairman of our local high school’s state mandated “Local School Improvement Council” (LSIC), a community based organization set up to assist the school.
We have been working on the development of the “Take Your Parents to School” program to help address the disconnect between parents and their high school children. Our very first (test pilot) program will be held the week before Christmas.
Any suggestions that you or you readers can offer us would be very much appreciated. Thanks!