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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day: We've Come A Long Way

I suspect many kids feel a natural urge to lionize their working parents. I did when I was a child. There was a special mystique about what my parents did at work all day and visiting my mom or dad at their office was, in my mind, so clearly symbolic of becoming a little adult. I got to put on my best outfit and my mom, who was an Accountant, would give me little pretend projects that always made me feel like a sophisticated worker bee. The rest of the time though I would sit at an empty desk or office and draw on copier paper after having collected all the colored pens and markers within a 1-mile radius. Intermittently, my mom's co-workers would stop by and proclaim "This is your daughter? She's just lovely!" They'd comment on my drawings. "Well - Done - You!" they'd say, pronouncing each word in exaggerated praise. Then they would scurry away most likely, I thought, to type mysterious and complex adult things on their computer screens. Suffice to say, after the initial adult attention and enthusiasm had settled, everyone would go back to their business and I would be left to my own devices. Usually, I would wander over to the the copier machine and make copies of my hands or make paper clip sculptures. By the end of the day, I could be found skipping up and down the long, empty corridors dazed and confused like some modern day Alice in Wonderland. My once prim outfit would be in a ruinous state of disorder. The final three hours of the day would consist of me driving my mom nuts, asking her when we were going home every half hour to the dot.

We've come a long way in how we embrace the rite of passage of taking our kids to work. Unlike when I was growing up, the official Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, which now takes place yearly on April 24, is a full-fledged program. The program continues its focus on the competing challenges adults face integrating work and family. It is designed to allow parents, guardians, and mentors to share their work lives and introduce these issues to our nation's daughters and sons. To assist you in taking full advantage of the program, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work foundation has created more tools that will help you initiate conversations with your daughter, son, relative, or sponsor/mentee around work and family, fun activities that you can implement if you are planning your own program or can suggest to your workplace organizer, and a toolkit for parents and mentors with everything needed to prepare for the Day.

The theme this year, Making Choices for a Better World, plays a key role in shaping the discussions at workplaces across the nation. It is a broad theme in nature and encourages discussions among the participants because it is open to many interpretations on different levels by all segments of society. The choices can be very personal ones such as whether whether to seek a good education or not or whether to vote or not. Partaking in the program gives parents, mentors or teachers many opportunities to help kids make choices for a better world from the local level to worldwide level. They can choose or not choose: sexual and racial equality, helping the less fortunate, fair and unbiased workplace and community conditions, going green policies, promoting world peace and human dignity, and many more.

Isn't it great that kids today can transform a visit to their parents into a super productive day? What used to be a day that to many of us was only symbolic of becoming a little adult is now a fun, but serious exercise in what it means to be a responsible grown-up.

To find out more about Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day go to: www.daughtersandsonstowork.org