My Junior Assistant by Dina Ramon
I took my daughter on assignment last weekend for an event I was covering for a client. Certainly I was a little nervous about it even though I knew she would be welcome and it was quite casual. But I also knew I had to socialize, plus take notes and photos and I just didn’t know how long she would last before the pleading would begin to go home. Before we left the house it occurred to me to give her a role in this project; both as a way to delay her point of boredom and to maybe even make it a little fun for her. Her eyes lit up when I told her that she could be a big help to me by evaluating the exhibit we were going to see, taking her own notes, and even taking some photos. Now she had a job of her own and she looked so proud of herself to be given a role. It made me realize that I should get these flashes of brilliance more often. It’s easy to get so used to doing things for our kids, and just bringing them along on errands and routine trips that I think we tend to forget how much they enjoy and can appreciate being empowered with some responsibility. Obviously this can start when kids are pre-K and they learn to put away their toys. But recognizing how truly capable they are at 8, 9, and 10 and doing more to challenge them has to be more interesting for them than picking up their room or helping to set the table; albeit those are important jobs, too. At the event my daughter immediately took to her role. She was courteous to the hosts and confidently introduced herself. I was so proud of the way she took the initiative to approach the exhibit works on her own, and meticulously wrote down descriptions in her spiral notebook. When she rejoined me to show me what she had written, I could tell she felt a real sense of accomplishment. She begged to take photos of the artist and her work and really seemed to connect with the event and the people there. Of course even the novelty of an interesting event eventually wore off and it got to be past her bedtime, but it was so much better to include her instead of keeping her at home with a babysitter. I couldn’t have asked for a better assistant.