The fourth Thursday in April is recognized as the annual, “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” It is an outgrowth of a program that began in 1993 with parents and their daughters, expanded to include sons in 1993, and given its current name a few years later. Ostensibly, it is an opportunity for working parents to introduce their children to the workplace and understand what their parents do. The deeper lessons are to build the child’s self-esteem, seeing how adults may work together in a variety of ethnically and culturally diverse situations. The program is enormously popular and successful.
The other week, I was able to experience my own version. My daughter was completing a two-week internship within the pediatrics department of the hospital where I teach my dermatology residents. This amazing program, for which she applied for and was selected, allows graduating high school students the unique opportunity to shadow pediatricians in the in-patient and out-patient settings, rotating through the different specialties such as cardiology, neonatology, and radiology. Many of the past participants have acknowledged this experience as the key motivator for them to pursue a career in medicine and the health care industry. My daughter, likewise, enthusiastically embraced the experience and now intends to pursue a career in medicine.
As a physician and her father, I was elated to share this decision with her. As we shared this special moment, she asked me, “Will I be able to see you at the hospital?”
I frowned. “Unfortunately, I won’t be teaching during the weeks you are there.”
“But…” quickly cutting her off, “Let me see what I can do.”
After communicating with the chief medical resident in dermatology, we were able to change my lecture schedule and move it up to the following week, when my daughter was still at the hospital. Elated, I informed my daughter there was a change in my teaching schedule and she was welcome to come to my lecture and meet my dermatology residents.
The following week, my daughter arrived in the conference room, appearing very professional with her white medical coat embroidered with the “Dept. of Pediatrics”. I introduced her and for twenty minutes, she listened to my lecture and spent some time looking at microscope slides at the 11-headed microscope. Finally, she quietly motioned to me and I looked up and said, ”You have to go to the hospital?” She quickly nodded, not wishing to disturb the conference. “All right, have fun.” As she rose to depart, all of my residents sang out a collective “Goodbye” and “Good luck!”
As my daughter left our conference room, I looked up from the microscope and beamed to my dermatology residents. I was not their professor. I was a proud father. “I hope all of you will someday get to experience what I just did. This was a very special moment for me.” Neither I nor my wife ever pushed a career of medicine or any other pathway upon my daughter. We always told her to put God first in everything she does and He will guide her path to the career that He has prepared for her to enter. To see her discover the same joy of serving God through medicine, that I and my wife have experienced, is a long-standing prayer answered, eighteen years later!
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (ESV)
Our meeting did not occur on the predetermined national day, but if it were possible, I wish that every day could be a “Take Your Child To Work Day”. It was a proud day for me as my daughter joined me in my workplace but what my residents did not realize that I was even prouder that God was answering my prayers for my daughter’s life. My heart was leaping with joy at that moment as my soul was humbled by the grace and mercy of God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.