The day my son’s school called and said he was having an allergic reaction, I was in a bit of a predicament. I had to leave work quickly and get some Benedryl in him, but I couldn’t stay home. As relieved as I was that he was fine, they wouldn’t take him back at school and I had a deadline at work. I had no choice but to bring him back to my office. It was the worst mistake I could have ever made.
First of all, I should say that my kid does not like school for a whole host of reasons, none of which indicate any issues on the part of the school or his teachers. He mostly just prefers to stay home. He’s not a go-out-there-and-seek-adventure type of young child. Second, he is pretty attached to me. He doesn’t understand why I have to go to work and he cries when I go even if he’s at home.
So I thought it might actually be a good thing for him to come with me to the office. He could see where I sit, see the building and the room I spend time in and the people with whom I work. I was so wrong – it was a big mistake. Huge. The kid was treated like a freaking rock-star from the minute we walked in the building’s lobby. The normally stoic security guards smiled, asked him questions, and said he was the youngest worker they’d ever met. Things got worse when we got to my floor. The secretaries fawned over him. Document Production indulged his every story about NASCAR (the kid is obsessed with racing). He was offered cookies, candy and small bottles of water by almost everyone we passed.
When I finally got him into my office, his amazement continued. There were so many pens — blue, black and red — and a drawer full of different sized sticky notes. He wrote his name about 100 times and stuck them all over the bookshelves. For the next week getting him to school was an extra tall order because he just kept saying “I want to go to work with you!” I had created a monster.
He still has no idea what I do for actual work, but I can see that it has brought him a better sense of where I go while I am away from him and now that the initial interest has died down, I know it brings him comfort when we’re separated. I wonder, if this practice continued, what impression it would leave on him about being a lawyer. One woman’s experience detailed in the Wall Street Journal piqued my interest even more.
Lynn Bradley has been bringing her daughter Katie to her Charlottesville, Va., law offices occasionally on school holidays since she was about 3 years old. Accompanying her mom to court, Katie says, “I got to see how she transferred from a mom to somebody who really needs to help her client out.”
By the time she was 10, Katie was playing “lawyer” in the conference room at her mom’s law firm, Tucker Griffin Barnes, writing notes on legal pads and pretending with another employee’s daughter to make phone calls.
Yet if you think that means she wants to model her mom’s career, it turns out it is having the opposite effect.
Now 15, Katie knows she doesn’t want to practice law. She is put off by the long hours, the stress—and the paperwork. “That’s something I don’t want to do,” she says.
I don’t want either of my kids to be lawyers because their parents are, but I often wonder how that very fact will influence them — either towards that career or far, far away from it.