Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taking My Son To Work

I took my son to work today, part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day,® It which used to be Take Our Daughters to Work Day, a day founded by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation until people complained, ironically enough, that such a day was sexist.

The purpose of Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day is to empower children. But I often have wondered: what if I worked in a chicken processing plant? Would my child really feel empowered by watching me do tedious dangerous work? Or what if I cleaned houses for a living, as some of my students' parents do? What if I worked from home, raising younger children, making dinner and tidying? What if I were unemployed?

As for my son, the day was mostly about his being able to get a day off from eighth grade. He had to wake up an hour early so he could join me on my commute to the large suburban high school where I work.

He told me my job teaching special education students looks easy, especially since my students now are all working in the media center on various writing projects. I circulate among them, editing their work and answering any questions. What he couldn't see were the months I have spent building rapport with my students, guiding their skills and boosting their confidence to the point where they can work independently on writing projects.

The highlight of his day was buying lunch in the cafeteria, which has a lot more menu options than the cafeteria at his tiny middle school. So my lactose-intolerant son bought a can of Yoo-hoo to wash down his huge calzone and then he went back to the counter for an ice-cream sundae.

The dullest part of his day was my third-period cafeteria duty, which consists of keeping track of about 20 high school seniors with free periods. Here he is using my MacBook to play some games.

I'd like to think his visit gave him a better appreciation of the work I do, or at least opened his eyes to the world beyond his hometown. Perhaps he gained a little perspective; I don't know. But he did thank me on the 40-minute drive home for letting him come to work with me today. And it was sweet for me to have him by my side.


  1. That's neat. My dad owns his own electrical business and all of his children, and now my oldest son have been with him on many jobs. At times it was boring, but there was always plenty of ice cream stops, polka in the car (and other equally embarrassing songs sung) and some rosaries prayed. It was a bonding experience and a learning experience. Probably the most important thing I learned from him was how he interacted and treated his customers-which was as friendly as you can imagine. I am glad my children get to have the same opportunity to see their grandpa in his element.

    1. You know, Sarah, I hadn't thought of that aspect of it - having one's children see how we interact with the world. They learn a lot from that...