Back Story

Things are not always as they appear.

I was in the airport waiting for my plane to board. There were two young kids running wild. They were running around the area with toys and climbing over people. I looked to see the parents of these two little “monsters.” I was growing more and more agitated along with everyone else who was waiting to board.

Eventually I saw the two little kids come up to an elderly couple. From everything I could gather, these two sweet senior citizens were the grandparents of the two children. This elderly couple was trying to keep the kids out of people’s way, but the kids were just to young and fast.

I began to picture it clearly in my mind. The parents of these two young trouble makers are probably off on some expensive trip. They left their poor parents to care for their kids while they were off vacationing in Europe. The stories began to swirl through my mind and with each thought my anger was growing.

As people began to rearrange in the lobby to board the plane the elderly couple moved closer to me. The lady was talking to another lady as they waited in line. I hate to admit it but I started listening to her conversation. I did not hear all she was saying to the other lady clearly as they talked but I could hear some of what was said. The word I heard a few times was “funeral.” From what I could gather they were either traveling to or from a funeral.

Suddenly my feelings changed. “Did one of the parents die?” “Did one of the parents loose a loved one and have to have the grandparents step in to help?” I could think of several sad scenarios because I knew the travel with these two children was prompted by a funeral.

Knowing some of the back story to these kids totally changed my perspective. They were no longer just annoying little kids. Instead they were just a little energetic. Instead of being spoiled brats from some rich parents they were victims of loss that they may feel for years. Knowing part of their back story deeply affected how I viewed these children and the situation I was experiencing with them.

All of this has me thinking about other people’s back story. That angry lady at the post office, the frustrated cashier at the grocery store, the distracted Church attendee and the happy high school boy are all living complicated lives. Maybe if I knew the rest of their story it would affect the way I viewed that person. Maybe the lesson this experience taught me is to learn more about a person and their situation before I make a judgment about their character.

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One thought on “Back Story

  1. In psychology this is called a fundamental attribution error. We all tend to place our own opinions of an event as true with little attempt to discover what the truth may be.

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