Have you ever had one of those moments when you needed to trust someone? Have you ever just needed someone to trust you? Trust is both beautiful and scary. Beautiful because there is peace and joy in having a relationship where trust is freely extended and received. Scary because for relationships to grow there will be times when you will need to extend trust against your will and your better instincts.
My wife reminds me daily why trust is a beautiful thing. My kids remind me why it can be scary.
With our kids it feels like (even though it’s not true) I’m extending all of the trust in the relationship. The truth is that we are growing in relationship as we grow in trust. We must always remember that extending trust is a choice we make. If we want our kids to trust us we must show them what it looks like to trust someone. I know this can be hard with our kids but so often having the courage to push through a barrier is what leads to success.
We must never forget that it is our responsibility to teach our kids how to trust.
I’m not suggesting that you give the keys to your car to a ten year old, or leave an eight year old alone at home (our ten and eight year old kids have both asked for those things). I am suggesting that you take the small daily steps to teach and grow your kids. Maybe you could choose to believe them when they need someone to believe them. Or you could choose to stand next to them when they need someone to stand next to them. I have found that the greatest moments of growth in relationship with our kids has not been in correcting them but rather in solidarity with them. They respond best not when we correct but when they know we are with them and we are for them.
I had a meaningful interaction with a coworker in a meeting last week. He told me that no matter what I told him, even if it sounded bizarre, he would always believe me without question because he trusts me. That was great to hear but it made me wonder if our kids could say the same thing about us. Do they trust us completely?
I am so often focused on the fact that I need to be able to trust my kids. But why is that my focus? Why have I put that responsibility on people who are all still in elementary school?
The truth is we won’t grow that trust relationship if our kids don’t trust us first. Jesus turned leadership upside down by serving rather than being served. Let us do the same with parenting. Let us turn parenting upside down by trusting our kids not because they earned it by their words or actions but just because we love them and it’s best for them.
Every relationship has the potential for distance. That distance can grow because of actions or words. When those gaps appear, and they always will, we must choose to fill them with trust instead of doubt. Choose to stand next to your kids instead of across from them. Fill their trust bank so that they can learn to trust. Don’t forget that you can’t give what you don’t have so let’s show them how to trust and heal.