This past weekend I took my daughter with me to a health fair. I volunteered to help out. There was a dental screening and the place was set up to be more of a community resource center than a health fair. There was another dentist present and the room was small so I decided to sit outside and explain to patients how to brush and floss instead. Because my daughter has never been to one, I decided to show her a part of my work outside the office. She could also serve as a translator for me for the Mandarin speaking population.
As we sat under the tent with the sun glaring on our right, she asked how does one really floss and brush properly. I handed her my flyer to read. She asked why I had to emphasize the obvious. I explained that not everyone has the advantage of having a dentist as a mother to show them how to floss and brush properly from the age of two. As she sat and listened to questions directed at me by different groups of people, she began to understand how even old adults don’t know dental basics, like brushing the tongue side of your teeth. Initially, she was shy about speaking Mandarin to an elderly couple. But when she saw their struggle with my explanation, she started to speak in a very soft and low volume. I think they were more surprise at her Mandarin than her actually trying to explain things to them. I don’t know what she said but I was proud that she tried to translate for them.
We sat for a couple of hours. She moved around and about to look at other booths. She loved the library booth as libraries are her favorite places. Not to mention, they were giving out mood pencils. The color on the pencil changes as you continue to hold it. She even asked for 2 extra ones for her brothers. She heard me explain the college process to a teenager whose mom has never gone to college. I also explained how different professions operate in healthcare. My daughter said, “I thought you were a dentist.” I am. But since I know what that process is like, why not share and try to get the teenager to think beyond her boundaries. Then she asked if I knew the teenager. I didn’t. I was just aiming to expand her vision for her future. As my daughter listened and observed throughout the day; she appreciated my work more. “You help a lot of people”. I didn’t think so. I can explain things in a way that makes it easier to understand, be it dentistry or college. Not to mention, I’m all for girls going to college and empowerment. When she helped me cleanup to go home, she said, “I like doing things with you.” That made my day.
This week she earned a prize for completing a song in music class. She picked out a Transformer toy she knew her younger brother would enjoy. She brought it to him and told him he needs to be nice in school and listens well in order to open it this weekend. She told me she did that to encourage him to think about his future. He has been behaving badly in class recently. She wanted to help him get back on his path for advancement. My heart melted. Mission: Accomplished (for now).