I have never participated in "Take Your Children to Work Day." Not only have we never had a school that particularly encouraged taking kids out for a day, I have never worked at a job that really accommodated putting work on hold to entertain my children or anyone else's. Over the years, in fact, I have generally said that my work/life success has been partly due to my ability to leave home out of work, rather than bringing it in.
Yet, today, with a school holiday and juggled arrangements, I found
myself with a work sidekick. Clearly, this is not the same as it would
have been when my kids were younger. They are all of an age now that
their going to work with me does not require my entertaining them for
the whole day. And so it was that my son sat next to me for eight hours,
largely consumed with apps and videos, a bit of homework, and snacks
from the vending machine. There were moments when we were each so
involved in our own "work" that we almost forgot the other was there.
I'm not sure my son came away with an accurate representation of what I
do all day, but he, and I, made it through our impromptu "Take Your
Children" day fairly unscathed, and, I believe, with newfound
appreciation for each other. My son saw me work hard under time pressure
and was impressed with the fact that people knew and liked me (and were
very friendly to him). I was impressed (and grateful) that he was able
to entertain himself for what could have been eight very long, boring
hours, and quietly shake hands with the various people he met all day.
Sometimes, learning comes much more out of necessity than out of
intention. Our own little "Take Your Children" day was certainly
evidence of that. And a reminder of how we can learn just a little differently when our kids