Full disclosure: I don’t have kids. I like kids, though. Kids and I have a lot in common. We like Harry Potter and Pixar movies. We scream for ice cream. We resist vegetables. We get cranky when we need food or sleep. We overestimate how long we can play outside before getting sunburned. The list goes on.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to Bring Your Child to Work Day and making new friends who share my interests. LRW hosted Bring Your Child to Work Day on Friday, and it did not disappoint. I made some new friends throughout the day and got to share cookies and ice cream with people who get as excited about cookies and ice cream as I do.
More importantly, though, I got to see the kids peek into their parents’ world. The kids learned a lot. One of my coworkers brought her son to a real meeting and talked to him about how to behave in a meeting, including how to greet people. Another coworker talked to her son about the different roles in the company and where she fit. Another coworker’s 9-year-old twins participated in a focus group. (What image represents their elementary school experience? A man using a jackhammer. This image means hard work.)
Exposing kids to work – and the role their parent has at work – is invaluable. Collette Eccleston, PhD said, “Work is a major part of adult life. Many of us enter the work world with a set of beliefs, largely implicit, about what work entails, who does what kind of work, and the kind of emotions it evokes. These beliefs are likely shaped by mere glimpses of parents and other adults engaged in work. The details of work, what actually happens in work environments, are a mystery to many children.
“Bring Your Child to Work Day is a great opportunity to help kids become more informed and form positive associations with the world of work. Because context shapes so much of who we are, the person we are at work is likely a pretty different person than who we are at home. So, kids also learn more about who their parents are, getting a more holistic view of the person.”
Bring Your Child to Work Day is important on multiple levels. It gives children greater exposure to their parents’ world. It allows parents to develop their children’s perspective on work. It also allows coworkers to learn more about each other and see each other in a new light.
As one of my coworkers put it, “I loved seeing my coworkers here with their children. It humanized them and showed how much they care for their children.” Bring Your Child to Work Day was a strong reminder that we’re all part of a community.
And, on really good days, that community serves ice cream.