• Yesterday I had a full day planned with my children- a color war (sports and games) for my children and ten other friends at the park.  The kids had two days off from school for parent-teacher conferences so I took off from work to go to the conferences (see our Parent-Teacher Conference Checklist) and to hang out with the kids. Suddenly it started pouring outside and our plans were not happening.  I had to quickly figure out what to do with 6 kids, 3 of my own plus three of their friends. My mind immediately went to the traditional indoor activities –museums, indoor play areas, libraries, movies, etc. But I wanted this day to be something different and special.

    My kids always ask to come to work with me, with whom I usually cannot oblige, but yesterday I figured, why not? It was a perfect day to show them the functions of the office since it was not a holiday and business would be running as usual. My daily job is to create lesson plans for online courses so I figured I could show them the entire process of creating the courses, dissemination, and monitoring courses to completion (course transcripts). I also decided to call my brother, who is a clothes manufacturer, to see if I could bring the kids for a tour there as well (I figured that way he can entertain them for a while). We packed a quick lunch and were on our way.

    This naturally progressed into talking about pursuing education, and different levels required to hold different positions at the company

    First we headed down to my office so they could meet my coworkers and learn about what I do. They had tons of questions, sat in my chair, and got to pretend to be me for a while. We then went to my brother’s clothes factory and it was a night and day experience for them. They enjoyed seeing the different machines, playing with the zippers and buttons, and seeing the fast pace of mass production. They got to learn about the process of how something goes from fabric to a finished and packaged item. We discussed how much labor goes into most of the ready-made items we use on a daily basis. This naturally progressed into talking about pursuing education, and different levels required to hold different positions at the company. Of course, it’s not always a direct correlation but they understood that there are the factory workers as well as people on the business side of sales, shipping and billing. They got the message that regardless of what field you go into, education (formal or education through experience) helps you become more successful.

    Needless to say, the day was a success and both the kids and I learned a lot. They gained insight into my (and my brother’s) day-to-day work and their questions and interest reminded me about the benefit and impact of what we do. This can sometimes get lost in the shuffle between work and family.  It made me glad that the rain had forced us to change course, and helped me see the benefits of bringing kids to work.  Ask as many friends or family members as you can if your kids can come and see what they do. It’s a little different than just taking them to a random factory because if they know the people who do the work it becomes personal and tangible.  It makes the challenge of achieving those goals more attainable.  My advice – choose a day, and consider taking your children to work!