If you have a job, what do your children know about what you do all day? Have you ever considered taking them to work for a day, or maybe allowing them to visit you once in a while at work?
While it’s not a good idea to do so without your boss’ permission, it is a great idea make an effort for your children to see what you are doing and the environment you are in when you aren’t with them.
Here’s some reasons why:
1. It is a proven fact that children who see their parents involved in entrepreneurial pursuits, and/or their jobs are influenced in a positive way. From my own personal experience I can testify to the positive effects of children watching their parents at work. As a child I grew up in a small town where most of my classmates were the children of small business owners. We were raised peering from behind the cash register or picking up nails at the construction site, or in my case, dragging brush across the countryside.
My friends’ parents owned the local skating rink, construction businesses, laundromats, restaurants, shops in the mall, paint and body shops, and more! During those years, we learned to think about customers’ needs and the responsibilities our parents shouldered everyday. We grew up knowing that our parents were in charge of their earnings. We helped them do tax returns, fill out payroll checks, and we escorted them as they went to the bank and post office. We learned the ropes up close and personal. Simply put, small business was a way of life for many of us.
Oddly, we rarely talked about our shared experiences as children of business owners, but we did compare future dreams. Dreams that have come true for many of us. Our group included future doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, politicians, and business owners who, for the most part, have been far more successful than their parents. In fact, most of my former classmates have college degrees, and they have owned a business at one point or another. I believe our successes are directly related to the days we spent observing our parents and grandparents running their businesses.
2. If you don’t own your own business and you work outside the home, your children have no way of knowing what you do for a living. They need to see you in action. Why? Because it instills a sense of pride in them. It helps them imagine what you are doing when you aren’t with them. That can be comforting, but more importantly it can be inspiring.
I have a friends who are a teachers, and I have observed that their children tend to go on to college. They seem to make good grades and are often engaged in clubs in school. Seems like a no brainer, of course the teachers kids are the ones who stand out in school because mom or dad is there to spur them on. However, I think there is more going on with teachers’ kids. I believe teacher’s kids see their mothers and/or fathers in a place of authority. They recognize the fact that their parents have influence in the community. Therefore, the teachers’ kids gain a sense of their own importance and influence within their community at a very young age.
The sense of leadership that comes from those early experiences can carry over into adulthood. When your children see what you do for a living it helps them feel pride in you, and in themselves. It gives them the ability to imagine themselves as adults following in your footsteps. Also, it gives you an opportunity to tell them about your education and how you have worked to gain your current position. Thus, teaching them the value of hard work and education.
3. What if you have a difficult job or one you wouldn’t want your children to be stuck in when they are grown? Taking your kids to see what you do might help them be motivated to make better grades and complete their degree. In the case of my husband, his dad was an roofer, a respectable trade, however, it was hard, hot work that didn’t make much money.
When my husband was a teenager, his dad dragged him from house to house show him the difficulties he faced with getting people to pay him, and the physical requirements of the job. It taught my husband the value of a college education and need to find a job that he would love, in lieu of a job to pay the bills and just scrape by. As a result of those early lessons my husband works in the medical field. He adores his job. We aren’t rich but we aren’t scraping by either. While he was helping his dad he got the message, “a good education keeps you off the roof!”
On the other hand, I know a few men who love being on the roof! So, the most important reason to take your kids to work is to help them see the possibilities. Children need see that life is full of opportunities. The early they begin dreaming of their chosen profession the more successful they will become.