Did you know that April 27th is Take Your Kid to Work Day? For kids, this can be a great opportunity for them to learn more about what their parents (or even grandparents) do all day. And it gives them another field trip opportunity! I don’t know any kid who wouldn’t want one more. I often work out of my home. With our technology today, it is much easier to do my work virtually. I took on a different role a couple of months ago which has allowed me to do even more work from my home office. One day my teenage son said to me, “Dad, do you even have a real job? Why are you home so much?” I had to laugh at what he said, but his idea of what a “real job” should look like gave me an opportunity to discuss with him the value of what I do and how it gives me freedom to be available for my family.
As a parent or grandparent, it can be difficult to explain what you do. Even if you don’t have kids of your own, seeing so many young people around the workplace can get us thinking about our vocation, and where it fits into the bigger picture. So, whether you’re gearing up to take one of your kids to work with you or not, it is important to consider the value of the work you do. Here are five things your work can represent, both to yourself and others:
A Gift To Your Family
The work you do provides for your family in more ways than one. Your commitment to doing your job and doing it well makes you someone your spouse and children can depend on. It’s an act of love. You can share this philosophy with your kids, too. Even if you’re not crazy about your current job, you can tell them, “I work because I love you.” Trust me, they’ll remember it later.
An Act of Integrity
There are many opportunities at work to model the qualities you value most, including honesty, reliability, teamwork, respect and problem-solving. Whether you’re doing your dream job or not, the way you relate to your coworkers and how you complete the tasks to which you’re assigned says a lot about you as a person.
A Growth Opportunity
Work can also push us to try new things and grow. You might have an opportunity to pick up a new skill on the job or take on a leadership role when it comes to a specific task. There might also be opportunities to attend trainings or go back to school for additional qualifications. Even things that are pretty clearly negatives, like a troublesome coworker or a major mistake that needs to be fixed, build skills that you can use later both in and out of work.
A Spiritual Discipline
While this might sound a little far-fetched, if you think about it for a second, you’ll see how it can be true. First of all, those positive qualities we talked about earlier are really extensions of the kind of person God wants us to be. Second, when we are doing our work with excellence and making a positive impact, we experience more joy and satisfaction in our work, which is a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 3:22 says, “So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work.” What a blessing it is to be able to start each week looking forward to the work we do.
A Marriage Builder
You and your spouse may do completely different jobs, or one of you may be a stay-at-home parent. But your various experiences have built different strengths and exposed different weaknesses in each of you. When something’s challenging or problematic at work, you can use each other as sounding boards and problem-solve together. This gives you both a chance to appreciate qualities in each other that you might not have noticed otherwise, which is always a good thing. Make sure you clarify whether your spouse wants help with a given work issue, or is just venting. If they’re venting stick to listening, then offer hugs and sympathy. But if one of you is trying to get to the bottom of a thorny issue, two heads are typically better than one!
Maybe you’ve got great people around you who take the time to point out your value at work. If so, you are very fortunate. But you should also make it a priority to do this on your own behalf, as well. The work you do matters to your coworkers, your family, and yourself. Don’t let the good things you accomplish and the growth you’re experiencing get past you. Notice them, and while you’re at it, keep your eye out for the next thing you can do to add more meaning to your work. When you do this, you and your family will benefit.
Please feel free to share with others!