Most people have heard of or have been involved in the practice of taking their child to work with them for a day. It shows the children what their parents do everyday, and gives them a chance to learn about responsibility, work ethic, and career choices. This day was originally started in the summer of 1992 in New York by the Ms Foundation for Women and its president, Marie C Wilson, with the support of foundation founder, Gloria Steinem. The first celebration took place on April 22, 1993 and has since been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of April every year for 37 million children, parents, and schools in over 3.5 million workplaces across the country. The annual event now also includes participants in over 200 countries.
In years gone by, life was different, in that children often worked along side their parents on the farm, or as was the case with my Aunt Laura when she was little, children were with their parents until they went to school, and even after school had ended for the day. There weren’t a lot of day care options, and so it was normal have your little ones around. Even in this day and age, there are places of business who have embraced the combination of work and child care in the same space. The accountant who handles the bookkeeping for our office, had a playpen in the office when her secretary had a child, so that she could do her work and not feel like she was sacrificing her baby bonding time. My own office has had children in it periodically. From my boss, Jim Stengel’s kids when they were little, to my grandchildren when they weren’t feeling well, so their mom’s could go to work, and later my grandchildren and our CSR, Carrie Beauchamp’s daughter after school. And since my daughter, Amy Royce and her daughter Shai Royce have worked here at times, we have had not only Amy’s kids here after school, but on the job too.
I like the idea of children learning about what goes on in a business, and learning that while in their parents place of business, there are times they will have access to their parents, and times when they need to entertain themselves quietly, because their parent is busy. I think that with the right people…innovative people, open to new ideas, children can be brought into the workplace to make the transition from new parent to employee a softer, more comfortable one. And as to having mothers who cannot take time off for sick little ones or days off from school, it’s nice to be a grandparent who can step in and help out, and who has a boss who understands.
There are many reasons to celebrate Take Your Child To Work Day, and in my opinion, many more reasons to have a flexible work place in which having a child in the mix sometimes, is not a bad thing, but rather embraced as a special perk offered to good employees who sometimes need a little bit of consideration, so they can be free to do a good job as an employee, as well as a parent.