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Friday, June 4, 2010

Born to Work With Children?

Hi everyone. Yes, I am still here. It seems that since school has been done, my brain has been on hiatus. I have to start Dinosaur Camp next week, so maybe it's getting back into the swing of things.

I wanted to share with you an interesting aspect I came across during my Care Courses studies. It was one of those times when you read something and it just really sticks with you. I thought it very eye opening.

In my course, "The Art of Child Care," there was an article included by Lynn A. Manfredi/Petitt. The article is titled, "Child Care: It's More Than the Sum of Its Tasks."

In the article the author talks about child care as a profession. She shares some valuable insights about the importance and nature of a child care provider's job. But the point that stood out most to me, was her explanation of motivations about why people choose the work they do.

The author explains that there are three motivations that help people decide the kind of work they will do. These motivations are task(the ability to get things done), power(the ability to have control over his/her life), or relationships(the ability to develop social connections).

It seems that highly relational people thrive in the child care business. Here is what the author has to say, " this field the task is relationship. The repetitiveness of chores, delayed gratification of accomplishments, and the lack of money seem less important to those who place a priority on relationships if their relational needs are sufficiently me. The promise and adventure of authentic, long-term relationships encourage many people to consider spending their days with children for a living. The high relational component compensates those who stay."

She says that, "relational benefits allow some people to consider a job that others might find unfulfilling." This explanation allows us to understand why some thrive when staying with children and others need to get back to work. It is an explanation of the person's motivations.

I read this as each person being born with factors that are stronger than others. In the case of a child care worker that loves their job and spends a lifetime there happily, this person is born with a factor of deep relationship motivation.

I think this would be such a great word to spread for those mother's that feels such "guilt" because they can't wait to get back to work. Many times I've heard, "What's wrong with me? I really want to go back to work." There is NOTHING wrong with these moms. It's just an aspect of what makes them feel whole. If going to work fulfills them, then they will be a much happier person at home.

On the same token, those of us that love our jobs with children, and staying home with children, should be looked upon with just as much reverence and importance as those that run the world!! (I know a little exaggeration there.)

One final word from the author, "Until the job of caring for children is identified as a profession for those who are gifted in and motivated by relationship, it can never be fully appreciated and supported as a worthwhile occupation. ...As our profession matures, so must the understanding that not just anyone can do this work."

So all of you out their spending your days enriching children's lives: day care workers, teachers, stay-at-home moms and dads, grandmoms, grandpops, etc., etc.: take pride in your work! Know that each day you are fulfilling a need that empowers not only you, but those around you.

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Mandi said...


Teacher Tom said...

Outstanding post!

I have a family at my school right now who has just learned they are having twins. They already have an older son and another set of twins in school with me right now -- nope, no fertility drugs or anything.

We're a cooperative and the dad is the one who works at school with me -- this summer we work together 3 days a week. He is a real asset in class, with a real ability to get kids playing in large groups. Yesterday the mom came in his place because he had a doctor's appointment. She loves her children, but was a total loss in the classroom. She kept greeting preschoolers, "How are you?" She told me she couldn't wait to get back to work.

Bre said...

Thanks for posting this-really makes you think. :)

Jen said...

Aw! What a great post! I agree- working with children or staying at home isn't for everyone. My little sister works full time and is able to juggle work and motherhood wonderfully, but for me I am more fulfilled in the home and working just part-time.

I'll be working with kids at a summer camp soon, too. Love it!

Take Care!

mamabearscubhouse said...

thank you so much! i've been fighting a classic man vs himself battle for a while now. its nice to know others are cheering my career, my goal, in life as one of quality choice and purpose!

*Nikki* said...

that is great! i have been teaching for five years now and to this day can not go to wal mart and not have a child say HI MS NIKKI!!
I love it!
Great article!