Whether the value is known or not, every parent has a trust account with their children. If conscious parenting calls us to awareness with action, then it may be time to read the balance statement of our children’s trust account - is it overdraft or increasing in value? Whatever the current balance, there are mindful steps we can take to plant, restore, and grow trust. Trust can improve the quality of every relationship, and is an essential ingredient to grow a garden of plenty.
Trust is the fastest organic, natural fertilizer to sprinkle on your garden. Sprinkle often and generously.
Trust is so important that as I began to write this post, more and more aspects of trust – courage, authenticity, and love – came to my awareness. In an effort to focus my thoughts and explore the breadth of trust, this is a two-part article. Part I will contemplate the indirect ways we build trust and Part II will discuss the direct ways we plant trust in our relationships, and specifically, our relationships with our children and among our family. Let’s consider now some of the indirect ways we build trust with our children in our every interaction.
- Integrity – “Do what you say and say what you do” and your children will know trust. “Walk the talk” with your children and others, and they will see trust. We can improve trust with our consistency, our congruency, and our authenticity. The more often we do what we say, we build trust. When we play by the same rules in all areas of our life – home, work, and play – we show congruency, and increase trust with others. When we are real and role model the courage to be true to our self, others appreciate our authenticity, and immediately find us more trustworthy. Are you credible in your children’s eyes? Do you cancel on them if something “better” comes available? Do you manage crises or lead with integrity?
- Respect- Honor and value all others, all the time, in all areas of our lives. I know, it’s a big one…I thought I was a respectful person until I wrote that sentence. Well, that just means we have a great opportunity to build trust fast. Take advantage of the low hanging fruit. First of all, do you honor yourself? Are you at the beginning or end of the to-do list? Take one simple step to move yourself to the top of the list. When you respect and honor yourself first, you will have more to give to others. What about the absent, the poor, the waiter? To profess love and kindness and walk-by the homeless man without acknowledgement, to disregard your employees or the waitress (because paying them is enough) is incongruent and disrespectful. The parasite lesson we teach our children is conditional love, not unconditional love. To give to the needy with the condition of how to use it, muttering they better not use it to buy cigarettes or beer, is conditional love. Give because of who you are, without conditions, and it really won’t matter how they choose to use it and your children will know authentic love.
- Transparency – No hidden agenda, no manipulation. There is no need to trick, bribe, tease, or lie to children. Honor and value them as human beings. We can be honest about our feelings, our likes and dislikes, our choices and decisions in life, and answer their questions truthfully. You may even want to reconsider your canned responses about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I am not suggesting to spoil the fun, but I am suggesting to consider the fine line we walk with our words. Our credibility is on the line.
- Correct our wrongs, by consciousness. This is about acknowledging when we are less than our highest self, when we fail to choose integrity, respect, and transparency. Maybe we can’t redo our action, yet acknowledging to our self and others we breeched trust, immediately restores trust. I got the opportunity to practice this one this morning. I was already in my working head when my hubby came to kiss me good-bye (He was headed out for the day – bootcamp and then straight to work.), and I offered my cheek without even raising my eyes from what I was doing. Fortunately, my trust account with him is high and he probably only consider it a minor withdrawal. AND, I felt incongruent and completely out of alignment. I immediately sent him a text: “I am sorry I didn’t honor you with my whole-heart when you were leaving. Love you.” I believe the trust was restored.
Trust encourages more integrity, courage, authenticity, consistency, congruency, respect, and transparency. Deficits in any of these areas are a withdrawal from our child’s trust account. Trust has love at the source; anything less is fear. Fear withholds trust and keeps us from unconditional love. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a half-hearted lover. I want to love with my whole heart.
♣ Trust and love with your whole-heart, and yours will be a life of plenty.