Involving children in our odd 21st century work lives

Hmm, I wonder who's face that is?

One of the goals I have for my little bums is for them to grow up connected to the world of “adult” work: to be witness to the work, to participate in it, to understand it. You know. All that stuff that as paleolithic and neolithic kids they’d just absorb as a matter of course. But in the twenty-first century, if you’re engaged in intellectual, creative or professional work… well, it’s tough. You’re just at the computer. (Occasionally, somewhere else, naked, writing with marker on your leg…)

Every once in a while, though, an opportunity presents itself. We’re both more actively seeking them out for our Cinder now. Here’s one of the first ones, from February 19, 2008, with a questionable moral. Enjoy.

2008. There is currently a plate of doggie doo drying in my kitchen. Not REAL–thank the gods! But Sean is shooting a commercial for a new type of pooper scooper on Saturday. One of the challenges we’ve both seen in the recent while is letting Cinder into our work world—Flora’s still not really interested, “housework” and neglecting our garden is more than enough. My work, unfortunately–hunched over the computer or glued to the telephone, not an awful lot of room for help from a six year old (although he answers the phone very professionally now and doesn’t always manage to hang up on the people before passing them on to me 🙂 ) Sean’s work–the same, although Cinder loves to and does help load and unload the car when they’re off to a shoot, etc.

Anyway—the pooper scooper commercial requires fake doggie doo, and so yesterday afternoon, Sean, Cinder and Flora set up a poop factory. Ingredients: instant coffee, corn syrup, and wetted cardboard. Damn realistic stuff.

At the end of the production, Cinder looked at Sean with big eyes and said, “I didn’t realize being a filmmaker was so gross, Daddy.”

Back to 2013: So what does a 21st century boy who’s got a filmmaker for a father choose to pursue as his first career? Making Youtube videos, of course. I’m pretty much equal parts proud and appalled.

How do you include/inform your kids about the adult workworld?

7 thoughts on “Involving children in our odd 21st century work lives

  1. We try to remeber all the homeless people and we usually take a soup to a chap we often see. It’s just a little thing but it helps them to see that just because someone is homeless they are not worthless and you don’t have to ignore them. x

  2. Oh I love Cinder’s job interests at this point. My husband is an artist and Emma loves to draw and can sit for hours now drawing. That said I think both my kids are too little to understand what I do with writing and such, but it will be interesting as they get older to see what they will think on this.

  3. I work online and my son is constantly “on his computer” telling me the same things I’ve told him: “I’m grading essays, Mom!” “This student didn’t read the directions!” Despite his insistence that he wants to be a professional golfer, I think between me and his math teacher dad, a future of education may be in his sights!

  4. No children of my own – but my policy with the children I mix with is to carry on with what I’m doing and ask them if they want to have a go. So Monday afternoon I was plotting a new Hardanger and cross-stitch design on graph paper when a munchkin appeared at my elbow. After explaining what I was doing, I doodled a simple flower and we chose the colours fo tit together, telling her about choosing thread to match. Then she took over. Next time we’re starting to stitch ‘her’ flower on some Aida. She’s 9. (I had actually brought the felt-tips down just for her, but she didn’t know that!). She’s been there and written poetry with me (making a picture with words), and ‘helped’ me do various other things….how much impact it has in the long run, I really don’t know!

  5. I’m on my computer so much – either blogging, working or social-media-ing – that I sometimes try to just read a book (an actual paper book!) while my son is playing in the living room so he sees me do something different!

  6. My husband is in construction – though I think he he deserves the added note that he his knowledgeable in so many other areas I can’t even pretend to be interested in all of them anymore. My son has taken such interest in my husband’s work that he wanted, and received, his own tool belt and tools for Christmas. He takes such pride in the real toolbox and screwdrivers that he his dad gave him long before. And he’s been surprisingly responsible with them (so far) thank goodness.

    I try to explain to him why his dad and I work – so that he has money for food, clothes and toys (since I think those are the most tangible things to a four year old).

    I don’t know if this all makes sense to him yet, but like you, I don’t want to shield my kids from rewards and penalties of adult life.

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