Even jerks need a snow day and childlike wonder, now and then.

27 01 2011

One of my favorite parts of my job, as I’m sure people have guessed, is the great interactions I get to have with kids. I learn a lot from those kids. (Probably more than they learn from me…quick, someone make a cliché movie about me!)

I was particularly reminded of that on this day of days.

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!

Sorry. But when I got word that the office was closed this morning, I was happy. At first. Then I got to thinking about all the work I had to do. It’s almost the end of the month, and there are still people I have to see, intakes that need to be done, home visits that have been missed.

Most adults start seeing snow days like this.

Where the hell did my car go?!

Whereas kids continue to see this.

Sledding!

Goofy snowsuits!

Temporary graffiti for sub-par Gaga wannabe!

 

 

 

As I wandered Central Park today, fighting off mild exhaustion and frostbite, I thought about what snow days used to mean. Before I was all worried about work. Even before college, when “snow day” meant, “Quickly! We need to get rid of all this booze!” When it was just about playing until you were too exhausted and frozen to move, but you still didn’t want to be the first one to go inside.

I present to you, the most important lessons I’ve learned from children.

  1. Be direct about your needs. Yes, people might see you as being bratty. But can anyone say they weren’t warned? This situation could have been avoided if you had simply provided me with a milkshake, as I asked.
  2. Be honest. Kids don’t waste time bullshitting like we do. A pre-schooler recently told me, “Sometimes I really like when you come over. But sometimes I’m ready for you to leave.” It was like a breath of fresh air.
  3. Spread the news of your achievements, and take responsibility for your shortcomings.
    As in the case of a proud third grader insisting I read her straight A (OK, they use 4s now, but it’s the same idea) report card, complete with comments. Or the four year old, interrupting her mother and I to make this announcement. “Mommy, I farted. It smells really bad.”
    I’m not sure if that last one was accomplishment or failure, but she was proud all the same. You did it, stand up and take credit!
  4. Do what you love. OK, this might be more accurately termed, “Do whatever pops into your head.” I think we all get random urges to do the twist in the waiting room, or demonstrate our ability to do a headstand halfway through a therapy session. (I mean…I’m sure some weirdos get those urges.) The under-ten set seem to be the only ones who remember how to let loose and give into it a little.
  5. Appreciate the little things. Whether that is three kids all managing to play with an empty diaper box, or an eight year old being transfixed by a pink plastic journal and tacky star pen, kids are good at this. (Nintendo DS is nice too, but a box is a close second.)
  6. If you don’t want to wear pants in your own house, then dammit, you don’t have to. This one has come up way too often for me to even have to explain.

Social workers talk a good game about needing humor to get through the day. We also get rather cranky when people don’t take us seriously enough. “It’s play therapy, not just playing with kids!'” Harumph.

True. There’s a lot more to what we do than just “playing with kids.” But when you get right down to it, most of my days involve Candyland, and at least once a week, I have my hand up a puppet’s butt.

Occasionally being able to see things the way a child sees them, though, reminds me as to why that is a truly worthwhile way to spend an hour. If other people don’t see it, at the risk of another cliché, it really is their loss. They’re letting a pretty great part of themselves slip away, and they’re missing out on a pretty fun way to see the world.

Aside from the simple fact that Candyland is awesome.

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9 responses

27 01 2011
Social over worker

We were told if we took snow days (in 12 foot snow) then we’d face disciplinary action… nobody knows how to have fun in my office. 🙂

It’s so true though! Be honest about your needs. 🙂

I NEED a biscuit right now.

27 01 2011
socialjerk

TWELVE feet? That is insane. How is it now?

I almost had a heart attack when I got the call this morning. I actually shrieked back at my boss, “I”m going to go play now!” Last year during a big storm, I was one of three people who showed up. And of course I live the furthest away. SocialJerk was not pleased.

If I could send a biscuit virtually, I would be all over it!

28 01 2011
KatjaMichelle

I think that temporary graffiti will last longer than her career…I’m just sayin’

28 01 2011
socialjerk

Ha! Plus one…

29 01 2011
njsmyth

I love snow days. For me they are permission to stay at home and read or write by the fire with cats or the dog enjoying having us at home. Sadly, we almost never get them (and I live in Buffalo, NY!). I can count on one hand the number of times my workplace, the university, has closed for snow in the 20 years I have lived here. 😦

And our kids have been very unhappy this winter because all those coastal snow storms miss us–they have had only one snow day so far–and have stared longingly at those photos from NY City of kids sledding. They have even put pennies in the freezer (I’m told that this is supposed to bring a snow day…so far, it has failed.).

30 01 2011
socialjerk

This was my first work snow day. When I was in public school in Brooklyn, we had one snow day and one delayed opening. My entire childhood. I was pretty jealous of those sledding kids myself!

A friend of mine took credit for this last snow day because she wore her PJs inside out the night before. Maybe you should pass that tip along? 🙂

30 01 2011
Weekend Links 3 | Fighting Monsters

[…] 10.  And SocialJerk treats us to a slice of New York life on a Snow Day and lessons about life that she has l…. […]

4 02 2011
Nectarine

I loved my snow day yesterday (we built a fort). I also like your list, however I add one caveat to #6 – If your housing worker is scheduled to come over, please put your pants back on BEFORE the appointment.

Otherwise, it’s all good.

6 02 2011
socialjerk

Ooh, I really wish I had built a fort. It’s been a while.

And yes, I also appreciate it when clients (particularly those over the age of five) throw some pants on for visits. Addendum accepted 🙂

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