Like most great ideas, I didn’t plan to have this great conversation about my job with my kids. It was by accident, but sometimes we have to grab those opportunities when they present themselves.
How it happened.
I have a six-year-old boy, Dylan, and a four-year-old girl, Olivia. They are very different kids. Dylan loves bugs, swords, and Legos. Olivia will only wear dresses that twirl, enjoys cooking, and gets very excited about nail painting.
I’ve simplified their personalities quite a bit, but they tend to fall into gender stereotypes. Like most people, they are much more complex than this. I pride myself on always noting that boys and girls like all kinds of things (more on this topic in another blog post).
But my children share a love of two things: getting dirty and their beloved stuffed animals Eeyore and Bunny. They call them their pets.
I am always afraid that we are going to lose Eeyore or Bunny. I am so afraid that I made a rule that they can’t take their pets out of the house. Of course, this makes my children sad because they want their beloved pets to go on adventures with them.
Dylan suggested that Eeyore should spend the day with me. I didn’t think that was such a bad idea. He asked if I would take pictures of the day so he could see what adventures Eeyore had with mom. I thought this was a fabulous idea.
That night we sat down together and I showed him the pictures I took of Eeyore throughout the day. The pictures weren’t that exciting – just Eeyore at my desk and Eeyore in the mini-van, etc. It took me less than five minutes to whip out a few pictures, and my son was so thrilled to see “behind-the-scenes”, and it gave me a rare opportunity to talk about my job.
It was such a great moment spent between the two of us.
Of course, my daughter wanted Bunny to also join me for a day.
So I obliged and the following week I did the same with Bunny. Again, looking through the pictures with Olivia was such a great moment. She was so excited to see what Bunny did with me throughout the day, and then my son wanted to see them too. We talked about the kinds of things I do throughout the day, and it warmed my heart to share my work day with them. Doing it through the eyes of their pet was extra fun for all of us.
Now, from time-to-time, when they are facing a rough day or had a challenging few days, I suggest that Eeyore or Bunny join me for work. I snap a few photos and then I look forward to that evening’s conversation. Sometimes I get creative and make up a story that matches something in their life to drive home lessons of being on time, meeting expectations, preparing for a meeting, etc.
From the child’s perspective.
I didn’t read this in one of my parenting books or in the number of blogs I follow, I just seized the opportunity to interact with my kids. The best part of how this all worked out was that I was able to share with them from a new perspective that made sense to them. I look forward to spending many more days with Eeyore and Bunny.