Trust. It's a key part of human interaction, but also one of the hardest parts about being a human. Do we trust? Will we trust? How does one trust? What happens when trust is betrayed? What qualifies someone as trustworthy? Trust surrounds us, engulfs us in her deceptive arms and lulls us into submission as time passes on. She makes us feel safe and secure and gives us emotional freedom when we embrace her whole-heartedly. She also shakes the shit out of us, can make us feel our most vulnerable, wakes us up from our slumber with a swift kick to the gut and destroys the dream, turning it rapidly into a nightmare. You see, trust...she's a fickle bitch.
I can sit here and write about the countless breeches in trust I have run into in my 37 years. Relationships, marriage, friendships, and so on and so forth. Here's the REAL reason I'm writing about trust. As a parent, I trusted people at a particular institution and that trust was torn apart. Without revealing too many personal and intricate details, I will say this: When it comes to our child ANY and ALL trust that we have given is with a degree of hesitation and uncertainty at first, but slowly earned and appreciated...but if it is ever broken, be prepared to feel our wrath.
Recently our family was faced with a situation that fragmented and splintered all of the trust we had given. Sending your child off into the world is hard enough, but when you have to do so knowing what an awful place it can be, it is even harder. We trusted his safety and security, we trusted his spirit and his heart would be protected, we trusted his mind would be unburdened of all the harshness of the world and that we would be given a chance to flourish and thrive. We noticed a pattern of behavior in our son that indicated stress and anxiety. We know him, we observed him and we TRUSTED him and his four-year-old communication and disclosures. Stories can sound outlandish, but are rooted in TRUTH. As a family we addressed issues that we all noticed, and in the end we believed that the villains in our story heard our concerns and heeded our warnings.
They DID NOT. They BROKE that trust into a million tiny pieces of anger and sadness.
Our heads spun. Our hearts sank. Or bodies wretched in utter disbelief. But never, not once, did we ever lose TRUST in OUR CHILD. That's the thing with raising kids in today's world, if you aren't listening to your own kid and blindly trusting adults, you've got a problem. In this particular instance we learned very quickly to shut up and listen. Listen to every word our son said to us and every word he muttered to himself in his room. To calm down and watch. Watch every expression on his face and every move he made. And we TRUST him. Trust that he's saying what he needs to say and exploring his environment how he needs to explore it in relation to his feelings and experiences. Those are his superhero powers. He may not be invincible, or be able to fly from building to building, but does have words and actions that give him capabilities beyond the scope of what we all can imagine. That is his way of telling HIS truth.
PARENTS: I cannot express this enough...without that we would have never known to battle his villains and to make the moves that we did to protect him from a potentially life changing event. Even though we can't possibly shield him from everyone and everything that intends do him harm in the future, it's today that we realized that placing trust in him and allowing the conversations between us be entrenched in sincere certainty that we are empowering him with the right to tell us anything without judgment or punishment, to allow him to communicate feelings that we will validate, and create an environment where he is free to express himself, has created a person who is not easily victimized or taken advantage of by someone he didn't trust. It's our opinion that he was able to stand up for himself and that power makes untrustworthy people uncomfortable.
This isn't a blog about advice. This isn't a blog about telling anyone how they should parent their own children. This isn't about me telling you that we do it all right and anyone else did anything all wrong. This is me telling you all that we trusted our child and it allowed us to take on a potentially threatening situation with confidence, even before we knew all of the underlying issues. We gave our child trust and we took away the trust of the adults in the situation. We took away the power from the adult and gave it to our son. It was HE who did the right thing and so did every child in the same situation, each in their own way. Every parent trusted their child and the children trusted the parents and in that trust a dangerous situation was addressed. These kids were the super heroes. They stood up to their villains and they are the ones that saved us all from certain doom. Behind every super hero is a parent that believed in them first, and it was then we realized we are actually doing something right.