on Trust

I believe that when we look for signs we find them. If we’re taught to look for evil, we will find traces of it everywhere. If we’re taught to look for beauty, then that is what we’ll find.

Are there people out there who have no place in humanity? Absolutely. But when we teach our children to be suspicious and afraid that is exactly what they’ll be. I don’t think that serves them well. We shouldn’t tell them to trust every stranger, but neither should we tell them every stranger is an axe murderer who should be treated as such until they are no longer a stranger.

Statistically, the worst crimes against children are committed by closely related family members, not by strangers.  Yet we don’t teach them to be suspicious of their relatives.  Nope, we actually instruct them to obey such people.  Is that a smart thing to do? Am I saying we should teach our kids to welcome strangers with open arms, and look on every relative with suspicion because that is what the statistics clearly indicate is the safest path?

No, I am not!

Instead I think we must tell our children to listen to their gut instincts very carefully.  If their gut tells them something is not as it should be, then they should listen to it and get out of there. Fast.  Get away first, then tell someone who has already proven they are completely trustworthy, and worry about hurting the feeling of the one who raised the hair on the back of their necks later.  But few of us do that.  Nope, we teach our children the opposite.  We teach them that they should NOT listen to their gut, to obey authority, to trust their relatives, and to distrust everyone else. We teach them a recipe for disaster, and tell them it’s is recipe for cake.

These are just my thoughts.  They may seem substantially different from yours, at first glance. But in order to resolve such differences, we’d have to have many long discussions, only one would simply never do.  And were we to have the opportunity for said discussions, we’d likely find we have much common ground – no matter how strange we seem to each other at first.  Who knows, we might even learn to respect and trust each other.  At the very least we’d no longer be strangers, we’d realize the sharpest axes we wield are words, and those would be very good realizations.

Trust is deserving when it has been earned, not when it has been demanded or instructed.  Perhaps that lesson would benefit the children of everyone everywhere.

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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2 Responses to on Trust

  1. Julie-Anne Dalchow says:

    I have 6 children, all grown now: the youngest will be 18 this year. I taught all of them, and the children I taught in school, that trust and respect ALWAYS had to be earned regardless of who the other person was.
    I didn’t do this to raise anarchists, I tried to emphasise being polite but distant until their personal comfort and observations of the behavioursame of others signalled that it was OK to draw closer. I tried to teach them to constantly reevaluate what their guts were saying about another, whether an adult or a peer.
    I believed that this constant information gathering was their best safety zone.
    I tried to do this with love as the primary motivator, not distrust or suspicion. I encouraged them to look at nature and how animals build up trust with humans, mostly this keeps them safe, sometimes humans betray that trust.
    I believe the key to healthy relationships is to keep your mind open with questions. Not on a *red alert* setting but on a more muted but awareness setting.
    I hope this served them well. I wish someone had raised me that way. I may not have been hurt and betrayed by *responsible adults* in my life.

    • C.G.Ayling says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read, and even more so for taking the time to reply. I’m finding it difficult to adequately respond to the pain in your reply. However I would like to say something. Victims of abuse are not guilty, yet they treat themselves as though they are. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to convince then of that plain and simple fact. Abusers use the emotional trauma they cause to convince their victims that they were somehow the cause of the abuse. It is an effective, emotionally manipulative lie. Victims are NEVER guilty of instigating abuse.
      I think you’ve done the best job a parent can do. You’ve taught your children to be wary, based primarily on what their instincts tell them about anyone and everyone. You’ve taught them trust must be earned, it is not compelled. When we’re telling them they must obey authority and grown-ups, that becomes an extremely difficult thing to teach.
      Sadly, I think an awful lot of us have experienced the darker side of people who are closely related to us. Unfortunately blood-ties in no way guarantee or protect us from people who are abusers. Indeed, blood-ties do pretty much the opposite and are directly responsible for protecting the abusers. Nobody wants to incur the shame associated with exposing a child abuser within their family. It is sad that we’ll close ranks around a sack of scum simply because they’re family.
      Thank you again for posting.

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