I love the days where I am able to pick my son up from school.
I have a routine when I pick up my four-year-old son from school. I usually ask the teacher how his day was. Usually the teacher says he had a good day. Once in a while he did something that was out of character for him, but not often. Then I gather all of his stuff and walk with him to my car. During that time I ask him the basic questions of his day. I usually get answers like “Yep”, “Good”, and “Uh-Huh”. Or he will turn the questions on me and wonder what kind of snack I have in the car for him.
The other day when I asked him how his day was. The teacher already told me he had a great day so i was just expecting a quick one word response.
I got a different answer…
“I was the door holder today. I do not want to be the door holder. I want to be the line leader like Samantha. That it what I want to be! Even the boy/girl counter like Alexis. No! I was the door holder!”
Now, this was a surprise to me. He is not much of a complainer. At his school some select kids get chosen for jobs in class. The jobs include line leader, door holder, boy/girl counter, recycle master, nap clean-up and lunch clean up person. It is an honor to be chosen for any job as it is. Some kids do not get chosen for a job and have to be kids for the day. The horror!
I looked at my son and told him that being the door holder is a very important job. I explained to him that although most people can hold the door themselves, it is a great feeling to not only have the door held for you but to hold it for someone.
My son did not want to listen. He is four and was on a rant about his job. nothing I was going to say was going to change his mind.
I decided to try to prove it to him. Before we got to my car we went to the door in front of the school. I told him to hold the door for people and see their reaction.
The door is heavy but he got excited to do my experiment. He started to push the door but someone came behind him and kind of pushed him out of the way. The man apologized but my son was starting to believe that the door holder position was just like he thought. A useless job. A job not as good as the line leader.
I told him to be patient and hold the door. So he did. Then a woman with a stroller came up. She thanked my son and called him a gentleman. Then a UPS man came with a bunch of packages. He thanked my son as well. Then a police officer came. He thanked my son and shook his hand.
Afterwards I asked my son his opinion of the door holder. His belief changed on his position.
When we got home my wife asked how his day was. He said that he had a great day and that he was the door holder. He said it with excitement.
My son is four. I am not a guy who has profound lessons to write for my son.
Because he is four I want to teach him lessons in life along the way. Yet, I have to keep in mind he is four!
I think there will be plenty of time to teach him about how everyone should take pride in work. That most people do not land their “dream job” and that is okay. It is what you make of it. That is what makes a dream job. I can dream about publishing companies and magazines offering me positions every day but the reality is I am a restaurant manager. With that, I have to take pride in my job and be happy with what I do. I have to know that I love my job because of what i put in. I love the life it gives me as well.
There will be time for me to explain that jobs you dream of are not always a dream. You have deadlines, responsibilities, stress and time away from your family on those “dream jobs”. Money does not make a job a dream. Make the most of what you have. That makes it a dream.
There will be time for me to explain to my son that there will also be jobs you are not happy with. Have the confidence to change. Have the strength to find another job you are suited for.
Instead I wanted to teach my four-year-old one small lesson. An important lesson for my son.
It is important and respectful to hold the door for someone. You should never do it for a thank you or a pat on the back. You should do it because it makes you aware of your surroundings. It makes someone feel good that you held the door for him or her. It can brighten someone’s day and it only takes seconds to do it. It is just like smiling at people or saying hi.
I am glad I was able to show my son that being the “door holder” is a pretty cool job.
It is a job I have had for over thirty years.