As a parent you learn lots from your kids, and I had one of those moments a few days ago. My teenage daughter is in her second year of working. We were are on our way to an event and she noted that she was not looking forward to seeing some people. Why? Apparently the fact that she is working, is an issue to some of her friends and other parents. The reactions vary from not understanding why she would bother to work, why she chooses to work, how could her parents allow her to work, and curiosity and support for her work. Unfortunately, the last response is less common.
I was surprised. We chatted about the ways that she responds to these comments and I dropped her off at the event. I drove away thinking about how I started working the day that I turned 16 and how I have not stopped. Is it really odd that she’s working? Nope. I was chatting with our family doctor and his daughter is the same age and is also working. And, I have chatted with other parents who have kids in high school and their kids are working, too. When I have chatted with other parents we talk about how our kids are learning life skills–dealing with people, coaching younger kids, organizing workouts, and getting familiar with work and life balance.
When I was walking around campus the yesterday I was thinking about this conversation with my daughter and I also thought about the countless office hours that I have had with students who have an empty or virtually empty resume. Yes, I am relating this moment that I had with my daughter to my work as a mentor and college instructor. I think it is important that young people are giving ample opportunity to work and develop their resumes. Work opportunities provides a chance to mature, learn time management, and make money. I also think that working offers you a chance for maturity and resiliency.