I vaguely remember hearing about this event on and off throughout my life. I’d assumed it had been around forever and was some tradition left over from the 1950s. But I was way off. According to Wikipedia (reliable source that it is), it’s actually called “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day”, and it’s been rather political since its establishment in 1993 by Gloria Steinem in an effort to get girls out of the home and into the work world…the “sons” were added later.

I know that parents have been dragging their kids to work a lot longer than that, so I guess that’s when the official U.S. calendar day was established. Many workplaces don’t participate, and some people even think the idea is outdated. But some companies embrace it, and Google even has a “Bring Your Parents to Work Day” instead since so much of their staff is so young!

When you’re in the Foreign Service, it’s AWESOME. Since the structure of your life and your children’s lives are almost completely engineered by this entity that is the U.S. Embassy, it’s great to be able to take a day and find out what it’s all about. I can’t speak to other embassy programs since this is my first post, but I think ours is pretty cool.

In most posts, I believe you have to be nine years old to participate. But since we’re such a small post, we dropped our minimum age to seven last year…and to five this year, so that it would include most of the local international school. Granted, some of the kids’ parents and teachers don’t actually work here, but they decided to turn it into a field trip because embassies are just cool. So hey, the more the merrier!

The day starts out with the Ambassador swearing in the kids as Foreign Service Officers for the day, and then each department does demonstrations and activities. In Consular, they get to have their fingerprints taken and get little passports. And I know the Regional Security Office is always a hit with the boys. They get to see lots of gear, check out the x-ray machines and help the staff stop a fake intruder. Then they all get Diplomatic Security hats or pins at the end.

This year, some of the kids actually did a presentation for us and sang a few songs in the atrium. It was super cute. Happy 20th Anniversary, Gloria!