Thursday, March 27, 2008

Going to Work

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I recently overhead someone complaining about a new pediatrician in town who lets her children come to work with her occasionally. Her husband is in practice with her and when they have their children in the office, the whole family is together. It is highly unusual, I think, for a family to want to be together, and to have the ability to be together during work hours will draw attention.

The opinion was that children do not belong in work environments.

I strongly disagree. I think children belong with their parents, and being in a place where they can learn what it is like to be a responsible adult is a bonus.

My 3 oldest children, ages 8, 11, and 13, go to work with my husband every day. They set their alarms, check the weather to determine appropriate dress, and are ready to go out the door with my husband to help him open up the golf shop.

Their main responsibility is to unplug the golf carts from their chargers in the cart barn and drive them up the hill to the golf shop where they park them and put the score cards and pencils in them for the golfers. They also make coffee, sweep the porch, run papers to the main office, and any other task my husband needs done.

When they are through with their jobs they run down to "Little Pond" before the golfers get to the course.There they play at pirates and Indian wars and catch all manner of critters to bring home.

Some of the things they have brought home from "Little Pond" are turtles, tadpoles, one three legged frog, a salamander, a chipmunk, and a cat skeleton. They examine these things and research them and make little habitats for them. All except for the cat skeleton. They want to reconstruct it and put it in a glass case as an exhibit.

The children all love to go to work with their daddy. Each one anticipates being old enough to help out Daddy so they can go to work, too. They take it very seriously, as does my husband. He needs their help and lets them know regularly that his job would be much more difficult and far less enjoyable without them.

In the meantime, the children are learning the value of being on time and doing a job well. They are learning to respond to customer complaints and criticisms, as well as praises. They are learning that some jobs need to be done in sunshine and rainy weather.

We think this is exactly where children belong.


Edi said...

I'd say as long as the doctor's children are not in the examining room with the patients, there should not be a problem. As well I wouldn't want the doctor bringing his kids to the "office" b/c the kids are sick and can't go to school.

I did work in an office before where one lady did bring her kids to work with her (single mom and I guess kids off school)...what I remember is the kids racing around on wheeled office chairs and shooting elastics (and having the nerve to ask me for some elastics!). These were NOT young kids... Now that seemed inappropriate.

The work you kids do helping dad sounds like great work experience.

Holly said...

I think you're right, Connie - and I love how your family make it work! What valuable lessons your children are learning. Most of us in today's world want to tell children that the adult's work world is no place for children. So kids learn that they shouldn't work, until they are grown ups. Our world sends a mixed message, though, and encourages kids to have adult behavior (promiscuity) because they can't "help themselves."

So strange, so unhealthy.

Your method of teaching your children that they are valuable and that you want to be with them...THAT is healthy.

Smockity Frocks said...

Edi, Your experience is a good example of why I hate blanket statements like, "Children DON'T BELONG in a work environment." or "Homeschoolers SHOULD BE monitored...or certified...or tested." Each situation is unique. Not all are worst case scenarios.

Samara said...

Aye aye. Both my parents brought us to work (in a military hospital). When we weren't horrifying each other with textbook photos of skin diseases and congenital deformities, we were filing, sweeping, studying. Kids at work can be "done right" or "done wrong".

Anth said...

I had the same experience as edi - when I worked outside the home, a couple of my co-workers would bring their children to work occasionally and they were very disruptive, despite being old enough to know better. So I wouldn't necessarily say children should go to work with their parents. It depends on their parent's job, the children's personalities, and whether the parents EVER discipline :). I'm glad it works so well for your family!

da halls said...

That is so cool.

You have a neat family.

Mary Beth

ymwife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ymwife said...

My question is what was the reason of the opinion in general and specifically about this situation?
If these children are disrupting the patients or something than the patients need to respectfully let the nurse or pediatrician know, not talk about it later w/others. Children are curious, inquisitive, and active. I would think a PEDIATRICIAN'S office would be a very appropriate environment for them to learn things about life and responsibility. They can relate to all those other children they see coming in! They can develop a more caring attitude toward others and a whole list of other reasons.

I wouldn't think this kind of "working relationship" would always work well for parents whose main interests are not on teaching (directly & indirectly) their children through this kind of experience. I think that's the key.

I personally loved going to work with my parents and it because I felt like I was contributing to their day. It gave me a new respect for all they did.

Wendi said...

Our kids go to work with their dad, sometimes, too. While there they have (depending on their ages), entered data in the computer, collected shopping carts to bring them in from the parking lot, helped stock shelves, helped tidy up empty spots on shelves and move boxes, stood next to daddy when he was at the cash register, tied the stock-room, and even, at times, worked the cash register. Ah, he also took them all to work with him in the middle of the night when a freezer broke and all the thawed, frozen stuff had to be thrown out. He pays them, too, depending on what they do (cash register work is paid the same wage as anybody else. Little ones bringing in carts get so much change per cart).

They love it- especially the youngest two and one of the older ones who likes working the cash register. They bring their schoolwork and when they can't help out they sit in the break-room or his office and read their books.

But I would agree that naughty, misbehaving children shouldn't be taken to work.

Henny said...

i couldn't agree with you more!

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