Culture Difference: Children at Work

I hop on the bus back home from seeing a movie in Phuket. I’m loaded down with avocados and filled with popcorn.  The first thing I notice is the aroma of a spicy papaya salad. And the next is the ticket taker and his son hanging out eating the salad before Dad’s shift begins.  It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.  I know the boy is of an age to independent, so my western mindset didn’t seem too worried about it.  It’s cool how kids are often taken to work and nobody seems to care.  Bob and Nam have their toddler around week days, who is joined by their four year old girl on the weekends.  
And the other day I went to Super Cheap (Thailand’s version of Costco) and one of the greeters had her daughter there.  And we’ve had some of my adult students I teach English to bring their children of various ages to class.  

When I was a child, my father was a classroom teacher at an elementary (primary) school. On teacher Professional Development days for my school but not his, or in summer vacation when he was doing prep for the school year, I often went into work with him but knew I had to be quiet like a Mouse.  I read books, did homework, coloured and even helped out with various tasks.  The other teachers were always friendly, I especially remember a Mr Stewart who was the librarian.  I loved E.B. White’s books and called him Stewart Little to our secret amusement.  I feel, however, I was an accepted part of the life at the school at times only because it was an elementary school.  It seems in most places in the developed world, bringing your child to work is considered professional and isn’t accepted. It might even put some customers or bosses off, depending on the nature of the job.  I can’t imagine a greeter at Costco taking their child.  
The Buddhist and Thai way seemed to be in a large part just accepting of things.  Perhaps we could learn something from the Asian cultures. 

Sabai Sabai. (Chill out, relax) is commonly heard. 

In Japan, at first I was shocked to see all the children of various ages at my yosakoi soran dance practice.  But I grew to love how involved the kids were, and how they each had about 200 aunties and uncles helping raise them in the community-focused society.  
An interesting thought anyhow.   


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