Fond Memories Of Take Your Kid To Work Day

Before we had a VCR at home, my siblings and I spent one exciting night at my dad’s office to watch a movie. Thinking now of the special occasion this was makes me feel old old old, but I can still remember our excitement.

We went down one Friday night, already in our pajamas, and settled into a small conference room.  I recall only the color orange; given the early 1980’s timeframe, I suspect this is an accurate memory.  I don’t know what movie we watched—one of those Disney live action films like The Shaggy Dog or Watcher in the Woods. 

My mom stayed home with us kids, as well as teaching piano lessons, so the outside work world was dad’s realm in my family.  It was a mysterious place that I never really understood. Over the years the companies changed but, with only infrequent visits like on a weekend to pick up papers, “dad’s office” seemed kind of amazing. There was always a break room or kitchen of some kind with snacks available at all hours. Lots of pens, empty halls great for wandering, and an air of importance.

I never got to do an actual work day with my dad but I would have loved it if he let me, simply for the glimpse into the shadow world of what adults do for so many hours away from home. 

My husband and I are both teachers so there isn’t as much curiosity from our kids about where we go for work.  Still, our oldest son Cole had one of his great life experiences going to work with his dad for the last day of school when he was four years old. 

Todd, my husband, has to put in an extra day after students are done at his high school: cleaning, rearranging, checking books in and giving his computer to the tech guys for updates.  The perfect opportunity to bring his kid to school without major disruptions.

The night before, Todd sprung the news to little Cole. “Would you like to come to school with me tomorrow?”

The kid exploded in excitement, his smile taking up his whole face. He found a little Elmo bag and began to pack supplies for the work day: letter magnets, a small ball, a package of fruit snacks, crayons, a super hero figurine.  It made me wonder what he thought his dad was doing at school all day.

The next morning my men dressed in matching Star Wars t-shirts; I took their picture before they headed out. Both Cole and his dad are beaming, a rarity for 7:00 a.m.

I called to check-in at lunch, only to hear that of course things were going fine. By the time they returned mid-afternoon, Cole was exhausted from a full day as a working man.  Todd got a chance to show off his son, tasks were accomplished, and everyone was ready for summer to begin.

Taking your kid to work may be a hassle logistically, but the glimpse inside your day is something that can’t be beat. The hours we’re away from our children are a mystery; if we can show them how we make a living and how we spend our necessary time at work, we’re opening a window to another side of ourselves.

Take Your Child to Work Day this year is April 23rd, 2015. 

Eliana Osborn is a writer and part time English professor living in the desert southwest. 

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