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Why Being A Yo-Yo Can Be More Educational Than You Might Think (Or - Maybe We Ask The Wrong People To Teach Us Life Skills???)
Before I begin tonight's ramblings I would like you to watch a video which is kind of linked to the title (and subject) of this blog post - I will explain as we go on;


Have you ever had two separate conversations with two people (who know each other and know you) which end up sounding like one continuous conversation when you replay them in your brain later on???

That happened to me today!  The connection can be found in the lyric "We all got memories, tales to tell", from the video.

I hope you will excuse me for not identifying the friends I was talking to (as I don't believe their identities are relevant - apart from which I have not got personal permission to quote one of them).

Given a choice between saying I keep turning up like a bad penny or saying I keep turning up like a yo-yo - I was pretty surprised when the person I put the choice to decided to tell me I keep turning up like a "positive" yo-yo.

Surprised because it kind of tied in with a conversation I had had with a mutial friend of ours a few minutes earlier where we were talking about the best people to educate other people.  (One of the words this particular friend used is one I wish could be banned from the English language - "empower".  I am sorry but every time I hear that word in connection with humans I immediately think of them being plugged directly into Hinckley Point - a nuclear power station - and switched on - electrocution optional!!!)

Apart from yo-yo's always coming back to the same place (once you have mastered how to operate them) they are actually useful educational tools.  Put it this way - I remember sitting in a Science Lesson (I think it was Physics) and being taught about kinetic energy with a yo-yo being used as an example.

However, I digress.

Have you ever had the feeling that you share a strange connection with someone even though you have only just been introduced to them???  That is exactly how I felt when I was introduced to the first person who inspired this blog post (I was introduced to them quite some time ago by the second person who inspired it).

Turned out that my senses were correct in more ways than I would have been able to guess at when I first met them.

We both passionately believe that the people who are "educating" people today are (in some cases) the wrong people for the job.

I am not strictly talking about the subjects you learn at school (although - as we get a bit further on you may learn something interesting about my opinion about that) - more the "helping" subjects which you find yourself (if you are unlucky) needing to learn to find your way out of.

This "yo-yo" is ashamed to say that I seem to spend most of my life as an untapped resource.  I have a lot of experience which some people should find really useful (RNIB, Vista, etc, as well as children who are seriously shortsighted and going through Mainstream "Education" now).

Put it this way - would you ask someone who has never seen or played a piano in their life to coach you for your Grade 9 Piano exam???  No - if you are any kind of intelligent human and you actually want to pass your Grade 9 exam - you will find a teacher who has proven experience of playing a piano to a high enough standard to pass the exam themself.

So why are we relying on people who have had absolutely no experience of things like Domestic Violence, Mental Health issues, Disabilities, etc, to set the agenda and attempt to impose "textbook solutions" to problems for which no textbook actually exists???

I was hoping to do some work in partnership with a charity a few years ago.  The charity was either the RNIB or Vista.  Now - both of these were set up to help blind and Partially Sighted people (Vista is the Leicestershire branch of the RNIB).  So you can imagine (hopefully) my total astonishment when one of their employees told me that nobody who works for the organisations is either blind or registered Partially Sighted.

Call me crazy if you want to (trust me - I have been called a lot worse) but - surely the best person to help someone who is going through any kind of situation is someone who has been through a similar situation themself and come out the other side (providing - of course - there is another side) or has learned to cope with whatever situation they face???

I will let you into a secret - the thing which I had the worst experience with at school wasn't the bullying, or teaching myself how to act like everybody else.  It was the reason why I felt I had to teach myself how to be more "acceptable" to everybody (no matter how much it cost me in terms of Mental and physical energy).

I only had a handful of teachers who actually wore glasses.  Now - based on their behaviour - I could make an "educated" (excuse the pun) guess which told me that their sight was nowhere near as bad as mine.

This meant that their teaching methods were not designed for my level of sight.  (Not only that but I can still name at least three teachers who had "handwriting" which was actually worse than mine to read - and that is saying something.)

Apart from the paragraph above - the worst thing was that I didn't feel comfortable enough or safe enough to ask for the help which would have been most useful to me.

That was a double-edged sword in a way - on the one hand the teachers didn't have a clue that I really should have been judged by a different set of standards to everybody else (hence my school reports all having variations of "Could try harder" written on them - and me asking to be transferred during my first term of secondary school, as well as almost having a breakdown (hidden) during my fourth year of secondary school.  On the other hand I ended up being so good at teaching myself to be a "performing seal" that I sailed through a sight test when I was 16 which lead a Consultant at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to turn round to my Mum in my earshot and say "get her out of here - she is wasting my time" (this was after everybody at the Secondary School I was at had - very - belatedly realised how bad my sight was and started snowing me under with different aids and implements which would have been useful when I first started Primary School).

You can read all the textbooks you want to on whatever subject you are interested in - and pass exams until you have got PhD's coming out of your ears.  However, if you honestly want me to take you seriously when you try to help or advise me I would respectfully make one request.  You will either need proveable experience of the situation I am in (paper certificates are not accepted - you cannot get NVQs in things like Having A Sight Problem, Having a Mental Health Issue, Surviving Domestic Violence, etc) or you will need patience and a willingness to listen when I tell you your suggestion is not likely to work, as well as a desire to help me achieve a satisfactory outcome for both of us - whether or not you agree with my thoughts.  My hardwon experience may not seem to be on the same level as paper qualifications but I wonder how many paper qualifications actually have an overall activities basis???

You respect ,y achievements and I will respect yours.

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