I brought my two kids to where I have worked the past 17 years, to the offices of the nation’s largest book promoter. It was officially Bring Your Kids to Work Day, celebrated across the nation. Although it was not the first time they spent a day with me in the office, it was the premier time of coming in on this honorary day. For the first time, I started to think about whether either of them see me as a career role model.
My son leans towards being an engineer/architect or an entrepreneur – or both. My daughter says she’ll either be a nutritionist (because her mom is) or a vet (because she loves our pets like a real protective parent). Neither looks to express any interest in becoming a writer or a book promoter. That’s fine by me. I’d rather they be whomever they feel natural in being. No need for them to be like me when it comes to how they earn a buck or contribute to the world. I wouldn’t want them to feel they have to live up to whatever standard or style that I set for myself. Who needs such a competition anyway?
Who knows what our kids will grow up to be? They may end up having multiple careers. The world holds opportunity for those who seek it.
I don’t concern myself that neither of my kids will be writers like me, but I am enjoying seeing them become voracious readers and to question everything. If they can come to think like me, that would be not only an honor but hopefully an advantage for them.
I may want to be like them one day. Perhaps they’ll do fun or exciting or important things. We always hope for the best, even if life doesn’t always turn out like we would wish for.
How can we be better role models to our children, especially when it comes to a career path? Many adults express regret, disappointment, or frustration when they discuss their job or career. They will show or tell their kids what not to do or be like, but can they give them good guidance or positive examples of what to do, how to be, or what to say?
Kids see everything about us, even things we think they don’t see or understand or care about. They judge us and mirror us. They absolutely become who they are, either because of us – or in spite of us. But we can’t get out of the way and be a non-factor. For better or worse, we can greatly influence the career path of their choice.
I was inspired to be a writer because of my dad. Though he never fulfilled his dream or passion, I find that writing not only comes naturally and passionately, but it is an intoxicating drug that ranks with porn and chocolate.
Writing has its own rewards, but for too many it also is associated with a life of poverty. Why must an enjoyable career pay so little for those who are good at it? Do we only pay well for jobs that are not fun, morally bankrupt, or high-stress -- such as law, finance, or hospital executive administrator?
Whatever my kids choose to do and become. I hope I will have modeled certain behaviors and mindsets, including:
· Work hard and smart.
· Enjoy what you do.
· Balance work with family.
· Do something that expresses who you are.
· Be assertive, industrious and creative.
· Negotiate well.
I love working with books, authors, and the news media. It’s who I am and what I do. If my kids can look forward to popping out of bed to go to work as I do, I will have done my job as a parent.
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