Children hear what their parents say about their jobs. They form opinions
about their own work (school) and their future job by what they hear their
working parents say.
Positive talk about work encourages children to understand that the education
they are receiving will have a worthwhile outcome. After all, why work
hard at school if ultimately it is going to lead to a job that you hate,
working with people you donít get along with, or for a boss who is a tyrant?
Share stories about your work and encourage children to tell stories about
their work. Use vocabulary related to your job. This broadens the perspective
about your job and increases your childís vocabulary.
A critical quality we can impart to our young people as we consider possible
career paths is the curiosity to be interested in learning new things.
After all, many of our young people will find themselves in jobs that do
not even exist today. Therefore, it is not possible to train them for specific
jobs while they are still in elementary school.
What we can do, however, is encourage them to be lifelong learners. In
that way, if they are always interested in learning, they will be able
to follow the lead wherever technological advances and societal needs take
When adults gossip about co-workers, we teach children that it is all right
to gossip about their classmates. In contrast, when we explain that we
went to the person with whom we had a problem, and we worked out the solution,
we teach our children that this is the approach we expect them to take.
If your job involves maintaining the confidentiality of a client or patient,
this is something that your children should understand and respect. Model
this is an example to your children.
Finally, be sure to impart to your children the important values of arriving
at work on time, completing assignments on time, and showing respect to
all co-workers (classmates). Parents have a tremendous influence in these
areas, and teachers are counting on you to use it.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.