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SONS AS WELL AS DAUGHTERS NEED TO LEARN VIRTUES OF WORK

IN MY WORKPLACE and in yours, probably, posters are promoting "Take Your Daughters To Work Day." I intend to take my 2-year-old daughter to the office. But if I had a son, I'd sneak him in, too.

I imagine committing a bold act of civil disobedience: I would handcuff my son and myself to my daughter and throw away the key (or just give the key to Miranda - Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be able to pry it from her little fist). Gendarmes from the Ms. Foundation for Women - sponsors of the event - would have to carry us out to the paddy wagon. We wouldn't make it easy for them: I'd let my body go limp. The kids would wriggle and squirm.The Ms. Foundation adamantly opposes having boys show up at offices and factories Thursday. Apparently, its members believe that transforming April 27 into "Bring Your CHILD to Work Day" would rob the holiday of its holiness.

More specifically, spokeswomen for the Ms. Foundation argue that a girls-only policy is necessary because "disturbing research" has found "adolescence takes a greater toll on the self-esteem and school performance of girls than boys . . . Going to work can interrupt this cycle for girls."

Ms. Foundation organizers assert that when boys and girls are together, more attention is given to the boys. I am confident, however, that my daughter and many others can compete handily in the attention-getting competition.

Besides, attention is not what this occasion ought to be about. Instead, it should be about introducing girls and boys to the world of work with an emphasis on opportunity rather than grievances.

And in this troubled era, we also need to instruct kids, male and female alike, about the virtue - yes, virtue - of earning a living, supporting a family and contributing to a community.

My daughter doesn't cry when I go off to the office in the morning, but many children do. Those kids are learning valuable lessons: that maturity means working even when you'd rather stay home and play; that growing up means learning to discipline yourself and delay gratification.

For many people (me among them), these are lifelong struggles. But without such skills, success is unlikely, no matter how many mantras you recite about "self-esteem" and "everyone" being "special in his or her own way."

I hope all this will encourage Miranda to begin thinking about work in general and, in time, about what kind of work she might like to do. But I'm no sexist: I'd want exactly the same thing for a son.