Next week, on April 24, Take Your Daughter – and now Sons – to Work Day will celebrate 21 years of fostering young minds and introducing youth to the working world.
As the organization that has formed around the program says, “Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success.
More than that, it teaches your child – birth or borrowed – that you care enough to include them in what you do the many hours you are away from home.
I remember one of the times I took my two daughters to work at a former newsroom. Of course, this was before boys were a part of the program and unfortunately, there weren’t too many girls that made the trip that day. They shadowed me most of the day then I sat them in front of a garbage can where they went through my files and organized them.
One daughter today says she remembers playing “Titanic” with her sister on colleagues’ desk chairs, eating in the cafeteria and, of course, being able to miss school for the day. But I know involving them – and later, my sons occasionally – in my job as a reporter and then editor over the years provided much more.
Today, my kids have all completed (or are in the midst of) a post high school education. But more importantly they understand that what I did day in and day out was for them. Because I had to leave my stay-at-home title at times over the years, they now understand why and that through it, I’ve introduced them to people and places they never would have experienced otherwise.
It’s important to show our kids what it is we do. It is important that they understand that what we do as mothers is more than cooking dinner, washing clothes and tucking them in at night. Sure times have changed and the “1950s Mom” has been gone for some time, but there are still too many women who don’t share more of their professional lives with their children.
We talk about positive role models and mentorship programs, but who better to do this than us? And if a young person doesn’t have a parent who is capable of filling this role, it’s up to us who have the jobs to take our collective children to work.
Our youth – not just our own offspring – need to see who we are as women – and men – and the contribution we make to the workforce and the world. That way, they will one day do the same.
For more information on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work, visit daughtersandsonstowork.org.
Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig is an award-winning, professional journalist who resides in Oakland. If you have an individual, organization, issue or other topic that may be of interest to our readers, contact her at [email protected]. Need more stirring? Visit stpminute.blogspot.com.