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You Can’t Hammer Caring Into Some People

, , , , , , | Learning | April 13, 2020

As part of the outreach programming at a small museum, my boss and I run a drop-in “Art in the Park” program for local kids twice a week during the summer. Occasionally, an entire camp shows up with 50+ kids, and they mistakenly assume the two of us being there means they don’t have to help supervise. This time, two summer camps have shown up, we’re totally swamped, and I’m mediating a conflict between two kids with one of the camp counselors when one of her coworkers comes over.

Counselor #1: *With no emotion* “[Student #1] lost his hammer privileges. He used it to hit [Student #2].” 

Counselor #2: “Oh, my gosh! Is [Student #2] okay?”

Counselor #1: “Umm…” *Wanders off*

I look over and see [Student #1] still holding the hammer and swinging wildly at a piece of scrap wood while several other kids also hit it with whatever they can find.

Me: “[Counselor #1]! If they’re going to use the hammers, you need to be right there watching them!”

[Counselor #1] sits down near the kids, but does not look up from her phone at them or me.

Me: “[Counselor #1]! To be safe, only one kid can hammer at once, and you need to be holding the board and nail!” 

[Counselor #1] still doesn’t look up from her phone.

Me: “Kids, if you’re going to use the hammer, [Counselor #1] needs to be holding the nail with pliers. Right, [Counselor #1]?” 

[Counselor #1], literally sitting a foot from me, STILL didn’t look up from her phone. I sighed and just put the hammer away.

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