Flutterby™! : Frustrated

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2011-01-10 23:00:59.033224+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

So with Family Build Night, we've had some great nights when we've been able to plan on enough volunteers to provide the one-on-one adult to kid-using-tools supervision that the site administrator would like us to provide, but we don't always have that ratio. So we have to plan for not having it. So this is a redacted and edited bit of the frustrated email I just sent:

To put this in context, remember that several of those kids are carrying pocket knives (which we've had to ask them to not pull out to solve problems that they've had) and one or two are carrying buck knives. And I say this without shock, because at 7 or 8 every kid I knew had a pocket knife. They've got far more access to tools and dangerous things out in the courtyard or over by the creek than they do inside when they'd actually have some adult supervision.

The Boy Scouts guidelines have hand tools at 7 (Tiger Cubs), pocket knives at 8 (Cub Scouts), although they do delay bow saws (as distinct from other saws) until 10 (Webelos). And part of Charlene's reasons for doing this program is that these kids don't have the resources to do Scouts, and we'd like to provide some of those same enrichments to them.

Safety is important and we feel that so is learning to respect the tools, and they're only going to get that if they learn to use the tools within an adult sanctioned space, where they're not trying to hide the tools from us.

What are the concerns here? Is it [redacted] liability? Access to tools by the little kids? We can put the kids with tools in another room or otherwise segregate spaces.

And we also feel like we're losing the boys because without the use of tools they find the outside much more compelling. If we could whittle outside and only tear paper inside, so would we.

We're grateful for the opportunity to work with these kids, and will continue to do so even if we're restricted to using tools only in a one-on-one situation, but we're frustrated that they're getting a much less rich adult-integrated upbringing than kids in higher income households are getting.

Anyway, that's our frustration for the moment,

And Charlene comments "They could do more damage with a pencil", to which I replied "Don't tell 'em that!"

Further, remembering from my childhood, the one major accident with a hand tool I remember was when an over-protected kid picked up a chisel, I said "don't use it like that!", he said "I know what I'm doing" and sank it into his wrist. Had he had an introduction to the chisels, he'd be far better off.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-11 17:15:20.922714+00 by: meuon

During most of my junior high and high school, not having a decent sized folding knife in your pocket would have provoked comments concerning your manhood and/or sexuality.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-11 15:55:53.156909+00 by: Dan Lyke

Sean, it was trimming a ridge off a piece of wood and he grabbed the wood with his left hand in front of the chisel, not behind (as I'd been taught). It was a carving chisel, it slipped, there you go.

Dad, I've asked to speak to their legal counsel, offering to pay for it myself, to confirm that this really is an administrator without a clear view of the legal situation and not an actual liability concern. We'll see how that goes, but I strongly suspect this to be the case given that I wrote the liability waiver we use and so far as I know nobody's ever actually reviewed it.

I've also suggested that I'm going to talk to the leasing agent at the nearby strip mall and see if I can rent a storefront for the occasional night. Don't know how far to follow that one up, but if the landlords there can manage to get the liability right, I'm pretty sure this non-profit can too.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-11 14:02:30.206322+00 by: andylyke

I'm saddened to know that your very valuable program is endangered by small people driven by paranoia. I suggested putting up a tipi at the local UU congregation as a teen classroom/assembly space. It,too was quashed by fear of the different. Killed by what might happen.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-11 05:45:44.672844+00 by: spc476

I'm having a hard time visualizing how anyone could sink a chisel into their own wrist by accident. I mean … um … that takes some skill!

I was given my dad's pocket knife from when he was a kid (and it was a largish pocket knife) when I was seven or eight. I was also cooking for myself at that age. And riding a bike without a helmet. And tromping through the forest with my friend (his closest neighbor was at least a half mile away, and there was no yard to mow because of all the trees).

How long until pencils are banned from school?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-01-11 00:01:21.928584+00 by: mkelley

my friends and I grew up w/ knives and guns and we were taught to respect their abilities and dangers. never had a problem. i said that to say, I had one "friend inflicted" event - in 2nd grade, I had a kid playing around with a sharp pencil and he, unintentionally, stabbed me right below my tear duct. left a black mark there for at least 20 years. teacher did nothing and brushed off my mom's concern.