A boringly teachable moment
When I was young, I lived in Connecticut for four years. I spent a ton of time with my best friend, Steph, whose mother would occasionally take us to museums and the like, for educational experiences.
She would always make us pay attention and read the placards, threatening to quiz us after on what we learned. Steph and I never listened.
You know when you're nine, the world is your playground if your friends are around. It was always her little sister, Robin, who paid attention and got the answers right. No surprise Robin now has her PhD from Columbia.
As much as I thought it was a drag back then, I've become that mom. I take Olivia to witness what I do for work, because it feeds her bank of experience.
She's watched the morning newscast in the studio, been on air with me during a pet segment, accompanied me to my reporter beat checks at the courthouses and police station, and visited me when I reported from a politician's headquarters so she sees what election night looks like. She's wandered around the back-of-the-house at the hotel.
I'd do this in whatever job I work. If I were still in PR, I'd take her with me to a function to see how fancy events go, and what the staff does behind the scenes to keep it smooth.
None of these things, I was exposed to as a child. My dad was a computer programmer and I went to his office once. It was boring to look at a cubicle farm.
I had other learning opportunities, though. My mother was a housewife, which was a wonderful thing for a child to have.
So I give Olivia what I can. Recently, a Japanese fashion magazine, Precious, interviewed me for its regular column on businesswomen. I brought her to the photo shoot because I wanted her to see how these go.
She can easily see production shots online or on TV shows, but experiencing things in person is different, and I wanted her to grasp what kind of thought and detail goes into a photo shoot.
Olivia and her dad sat on the side while the team went over wardrobe and locations with me. She watched as they took multiple photos in one area, reviewed it, and then repositioned me for better lighting or framing.
This isn't just some iPhone photo taken in one minute. This is a process. Like anything else - the newscast, or the events I worked in PR - there is a lot of effort in the end product. This is what I hope to impress upon her.
I knew she was bored watching this. When I caught up with her later, she tried to be polite about it, but Claus confirmed it.
But it's OK. One day, when she's older, she'll remember these things I forced her to accompany me to, and hopefully, appreciate it.
Plus, these experiences she's had are fairly uncommon, given my lines of work. I never saw any of that until I was actually working in the news, or working in PR. Heck if my parents were going to take me to a $100 per person function.
I know all the things Steph's mom forced me to read (ha ha) inform me now as an adult. When New England comes up in conversation, or in the news, it's not just a place on a map to me. It's a culture I lived, enjoyed, and relate to, more so because I was exposed to some of its history.
It also enhances my understanding of the world as a global community, rather than seeing disparate geographies as separate from mine. It adds to the concept of universal oneness and that we are all on this planet working towards the same goals of happiness. It erodes the notion of Self vs. Other.
...Wow, I got all of this from Mystic Seaport?
Oh yeah. And about that pop quiz Steph's mom conducted on the car ride home. There were 13 colony states, Mrs. Surwilo. I paid attention... sort of!