Jump The Shark

| Berkeley, CA, USA | Learning | June 18, 2015

(I am a counselor at a day camp that parents can enroll their children in for up to six weeks. The kids are playing ‘Sharks and Minnows”, a game where players, the ‘minnows,’ must run across a field without being tagged by the handful of other players designated as ‘sharks.’ At the start of the game, I notice one of the kids, storming to the sidelines, so I go over to check up on her.)

Me: “Hey, [Kid], what’s going on? Don’t you want to play Sharks and Minnows?”

Kid: “I hate this game! It’s dumb! I didn’t get picked to be a shark, again, and it’s only fun if you’re a shark! I don’t want to be a stupid minnow!”

Me: “Well, the thing is, we need to give everyone a turn being a shark, so everyone has to be a minnow a lot, too.”

Kid: “This is my second week at camp and I’ve only been a shark once! It’s not fair! Why don’t I get to be a shark?”

(Another child, has been sitting quietly a few feet away applying an ice pack to his ankle, which he’d rolled earlier that day. He pipes up now.)

Other Child: “This is my third week in camp and I’ve never gotten picked to be a shark.”

Me: “See, how do you think [Other Child] would feel if you got another turn as a shark, when he’s never been a shark at all?”

Kid: *glowering at me* “It’s not faaaaiiiiir!”

(She stomps off. The other child glances over at me.)

Other Child: “I don’t think that’s what fair is, but she can have my turn as a shark. It’s okay.”

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