A look behind the scenes

     I recently visited several Napa Valley wineries and got a glimpse into the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of making wine. Itís a complicated process that involves chemical formulas, more equipment than I ever imagined, and people doing myriad jobs that are integral to the wineís production.

     This awareness has a valuable application for parents and their children: helping young people to get a glimpse of what it takes to prepare services and products that they see and use regularly.

     The possibilities are many: a factory, a newspaper production plant, a printing office, a farm, a restaurant kitchen, the storage area of your local supermarket, the parentsí workplaces, and backstage before or after a theatrical production are only a few venues. You can probably think of many more.

     There are several advantages to exposing children to the otherwise unseen work that takes place:

  • It gives them a means to form a more complete understanding of any given industry or enterprise. Children see the cooperation needed to bring a product from conception to completion. They observe that it takes many people, steps, and levels of production in the creation of the end product. Seeing this in action is better than just hearing about it.
  • Most children will probably be able to identify a particular aspect of the process that they enjoy and may like to do themselves. This leads to a heightened self-awareness, as they consider their own skills and interests. For children considering what they would like to do when they grow up, they are exposed to more options available to them, as well as having a wider scope as to how they may someday fit into the workforce.
  • It helps children to be more oriented to the process than to the end product. We Americans are more focused on the end product than on the process it takes to produce it. Contrast this to many Eastern cultures, notably Japanese, where the emphasis is on doing things in the proper order rather than how it looks when it is finished.

     Attention to these activities with parents will help children to function more smoothly in the classroom community.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

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