Woodstock Area Job Bank

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Sunday night the telephone rang. It was my daughter.

“Mom, I let Kira use the toothpaste you bought for Samantha, and now Sam’s having a meltdown. Here, you talk to her.…”

“What? What do you want me to do?”

I heard sobbing through the phone.

“Hi, Samantha. Your mom tells me you are upset because she let Kira use your special Tom’s strawberry toothpaste we bought when you came to visit in Vermont.”

More sobbing, slightly less intense…

“I know it is hard when Kira gets to use all of your stuff. You really like that toothpaste a lot.”


“Maybe you can ask Mommy if you can keep the special toothpaste in your room. Maybe mommy can get Kira her own special toothpaste to use.”

Sniff. “YaYa?”


“I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. Did you do anything fun today?”

Crisis averted. So simple: Samantha just needed to be heard over the demands of her three year-old sister. She needed her mom to know that the strawberry toothpaste was special. She needed her mom to know she should have asked first.

Last week, Bill came into the office here at the Job Bank. He wanted an intern to work his farm. He said he had come before but no one was interested. He thought I should do my job.

When you hear anger it is easy to become defensive. After all I hadn’t met Bill before. Instead I listened.

Bill told me how hard it was to run a farm. He told me how hard it was to run a farm in the black. He told me he knew of another farm over in Barnard that had interns who worked for free. He told me it was a “fancy” farm. His farm, he said proudly, was diversified: animals and corn. On a diversified farm you have to do everything. If the truck breaks, you fixed it. If the fence goes down, you get it up. He claimed that on a diversified farm a kid could learn a lot.

I agreed and we spent a few minutes seeing what I could find out. We did find some information about farm interns: colleges with agricultural programs have them. The programs are not easy to comply with and the labor is not totally free, but we spent some time together                                                                                                                seeing what was out there.

When Bill left, I realized he and Samantha had something in common. We all want to be heard, even if things don’t change or there is no immediate solution. We just want to make sure someone is listening. Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.

Until Next Week




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