As parents, we want many things for our children. We want them to be healthy, so we take them to the doctor for their vaccinations and to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings.
We want our children to be safe and secure, so we make sure they’re buckled when in the car, and despite their protests, we make them put on a helmet when riding the bike or scooter. Later, when they’re older and ready to drive, we shop for a car with a good safety record.
But perhaps more than anything, we want them to be happy, so maybe we indulge them too much on birthdays and at Christmas. And we hurt for them when, say, a boyfriend, or girlfriend, hurts them.
I thought about what parents want for their children this past Monday, my daughter’s first day at her summer job. And I was happy that she was happy with the experience.
Our daughter has worked before. As a condition for getting a car, she had to a get a job, so she worked first in food service and then in retail. Before she started that first job, I offered what I considered to be essential advice for the job novice: Always say “please” and “thank you,” “yes sir” and “no sir,” “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.” I told her too that both customers and coworkers can work your last good nerve without even trying or meaning to.
She quickly learned that my advice was on the mark. I remember in particular the story she told about the restaurant patron who was so condescending that I felt sorry for my daughter for having to suffer such a witch. Invariably too a coworker would rub my daughter the wrong way, though, in fairness, I have learned that it’s not hard to get an only child out of her comfort zone.
So I was happy on Monday when my daughter came home and said her first day in the summer child-care program at First Baptist Church in Smithfield was the best first day ever.
Beyond happy, I was also encouraged. My daughter wants to be a teacher, so the fact that she so enjoyed her first day in child care leaves me to believe that she’s making a good career choice.
And that matters too, because while we want our children to be happy as children, we want them to be happy as adults too. Choosing the right career is a step in that direction.