Taking it Home: How to Explain Your Job To Your Kids

Our kids are often more curious about what we do at work then we realize.
Taking it Home: How to Explain Your Job To Your Kids
Recommended for children ages 4 to 8, "The Magic School Bus At the Waterworks" provides a great opportunity to explain your career.

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Every night, I wade through a sea of school papers that come home either folded, wadded or jammed into a backpack. Sometimes they’re soggy — victims of an encounter with a wet pair of snowpants and gloves. Once, they were saturated in fruit juice. Those backpack diggings are often the most adventurous part of my day.

On one occasion, I opened a folder and discovered my oldest son must have been studying careers and jobs in school. I found a stick-figure drawing of me, apparently, sitting at a desk. The caption read: “My mom works on a computer.”

Wow. That sounds, so, uh, exciting.

So needless to say, writing and editing are not the most intriguing jobs in a child’s eyes. Not very tangible, you might say. Not exciting like a fireman or a policeman or a teacher or a clean-water operator.

That’s right. Your job, as clean-water operators, is interesting. It has substance. It’s about chlorine and water towers and treatment processes. It’s about chemicals and beakers and test samples. You get to hold up a glass of clean water and tell your son or daughter exactly what you do at work.

On April 24, children across the country will join their parents for national “Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day.” This year, as the program celebrates its 21st anniversary with the theme “Plant a Seed, Grow a Future,” perhaps it’s time to share and explain your job with your kids. After all, in this industry, we hear plenty about an aging workforce and the need to bring youth into the water sector. So start here.

If your children are in lower elementary, read them The Magic School Bus: At the Waterworks ahead of time. If you’re not familiar with the Magic School Bus series, this is a great one to start with. The books are fun, science education stories that take kids on random adventures with the ever-fascinating, slightly crazy Ms. Frizzle. In At the Waterworks, the class takes a field trip through a city’s water system. Along with learning about the overall water cycle, kids get to see how filtration and chlorination work, and they learn about reservoirs, water towers and water mains.

“Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day” is meant for children ages 8 to 18. For related resources, including planning tips and information on how to arrange work visits, take a look at the national website.

Our kids are often more curious about what we do at work then we realize. Sometimes, after a long day, it’s easy to brush aside questions or maybe oversimplify daily routines. But it matters.

And perhaps it’s time for me to explain what I’m writing about. I don’t just work at a computer all day. I’m writing about the men and women who provide clean water for our nation. And that is pretty interesting.


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