Usually There’s a Back-Story Somewhere

I went to a recent fund-raiser that had an afternoon lunch and an auction. I wanted to participate in the auction, but the directions didn’t make any sense to me, so I asked for a second explanation of how the auction rules worked. It was different than anything I had ever heard of, and my mind wasn’t grasping it, so I opted out and gave a donation instead.

It turned out that someone else sitting at my table didn’t understand the rules, either, which helped me not feel so DENSE! Don’t you hate it when you just don’t get something? It could be a computer skill thing, a new game, or a car repair explanation.

There may be ย a back-story behind some mental freeze-ups, though. Maybe you were embarrassed because you didn’t understand a game as a child and others made fun of you. So now you hate to play games for fear that you may be embarrassed, and you’re ย forty years old.

My back-story is that thirty years ago I went to an auction with Bruce, and we just watched everything going on, because we were new to auctions. When it was over, a man told us where we could pick up our purchases and pay. What? We didn’t bid on anything! Or so we thought. It turned out that we had accidentally bid on two small furniture items. Thank goodness that we had the money. I still have one of the pieces to remind me. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s the same with the traumatized kids that we try to work with and love. They may have a back-story that causes them to behave in certain ways, and react in a totally unexpected way in some situations. Remember empathy and patience as you help them have successes. And never take them to an auction. Just kidding! -Nealie


  1. sherree rummer says:

    I try and tend not to blame any of this “not understanding stuff” on myself. My Dad once said when someone is teaching you something that they are an expert at, and you are being made to feel intimidated, anxious or plain stupid for not “getting it,” then they are not any smarter than you. They just happen to know a lot more about that subject than you, and you probably happen to know a lot more and are an expert about another subject that they don’t understand. He told me to never start out with “Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    Now if I don’t “get it,” most of the time inside of myself I will blame it on the person teaching or explaining something to me. There are a lot of lousy explainers and teachers out there. Most of the time, I pick it up by their attitude of impatience with me. We are all not wired to teach and explain well, and it helps me be more forgiving of the person who is trying their best and doing a lousy job.

    I have back-stories also but my fathers advice helped me erase all those past feelings so that, when I learn in the present I always keep his advice in mind.

    Back to your Volcano post: There is actually a profession where people get paid to write and attach directions to the item purchased. Perhaps there were directions written out and given to the manufacturer of the volcano and the lousy directions written did not include what to do for the base. Boy oh boy,if that was the case I bet the manufacturer is feeling stupid.

    • NealieRose says:

      Thank you for your comments, Sherree. Your father had a good way of helping you understand things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Diane Lemyre says:

    If I start from the beginning …they have a chance to learn it for the first time or have a chance to have it reinforced or it is an opportunity simply to review. This is how I personally learn and how I teach.

    How we need to understand our children especially with special needs. They need our love and patience first. Then they can learn from us.

    • NealieRose says:

      Thanks for checking in here, Diane! As a teacher of special-needs kids, I hold you in high esteem! ๐Ÿ™‚ Nealie

  3. Sarah Wank says:

    When a straight “A” student that has a history of getting good grades ends up with one class that they are getting a low grade in, it makes you wonder if it could be poor teaching in that subject. We need to consider how it is to not blame the child until we look “behind the scene”. there just might be a “Back Story.”

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