The Truth About Trust

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by Jon Acuff

When my daughter was ten, I told her that I would write her a story. 

I write for a living and I’m constantly reading about other authors who do that. On a whim, they write their kids a story and then voila, Harry Potter!

I wasn’t going to write her the story because I thought it would turn into a book. I was going to write her a story because it’s fun. As soon as I told her that though, she said, “Sure you will. You’ll write two pages and then quit.”

Body blow!

No one hits as hard as your kids can hit.

In that simple statement, my daughter revealed that when it comes to my ability to keep my word on projects, she has her doubts. 

I tend to be a starter. I am enthusiastic and excited at the beginning, but I tend to fizzle at the end. Apparently, McRae had watched that happen and was unsure if I would keep my word. 

That’s a trust issue and there are three things we parents need to remember:

1. Trust is built when words become actions.

When you do what you say, you build trust. When you don’t, you destroy it. It’s that simple.

2. Trust is small and slow.

Trust is a thousand tiny actions built up over time. One by one. Day by day. It’s not a home run moment, it’s showing up in small ways consistently. 

3. Trust can be rebuilt.

McRae knows I won’t forget her at soccer practice. She knows I’ll take her for ice cream when I say. Her comment revealed she didn’t trust me when it came to writing, but even that can be rebuilt. It is not lost. 

Trust is like the glue in parenting, it tends to hold your whole relationship with your child together.

Trust is like the glue in parenting, it tends to hold your whole relationship w/your child together.

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Don’t take it for granted. Build it slowly and if it’s been broken, admit it and then rebuild.

It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.

Choosing to Trust in the Moment

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by Mike Tiemann

One of the things I admire the most about kids is the way they live in the moment. They don’t have to be responsible for things like retirement plans . . . coordinating the calendar . . . or figuring out what’s for dinner.

Can I be honest and tell you that’s one of the things I miss the most about childhood?

Think about the last time you started out on a family car trip. Before you’ve even left the driveway, your kids immediately ask to listen to a song or put on a movie.

“Give me a minute,” you say (with no small amount of frustration). After all, you’re thinking 10 steps ahead. As the responsible adults, we need to give our minds a chance to transition from what we’ve been managing to whatever we’re managing next. But kids? They’re in the moment, all the time.

They aren’t thinking about the route you need to take. They aren’t worried about road construction or traffic, or that new sound that just started from the back of the car that wasn’t there yesterday.

Kids don’t have control of any of those things. They have no choice but to trust.

They trust that you’ll get them to wherever you’re going, safe and sound. If something goes wrong, they trust you to fix it. They’re completely dependent on you for all those “adult things” that you spend all your time trying to manage.

Of course, those days of blind trust don’t last forever. As kids grow and change and mature on the path to adulthood, they move from dependence to independence—from reactivity to responsibility.

That’s good. That’s healthy. But there’s a cost. When we grow up, we have to take ownership. We feel like we have to take control . . . and if we’re honest, that can make it a lot harder to trust.

We don’t like it when life surprises us and takes us out of the driver’s seat. But it’s not a question of if we’ll get kicked out from time to time; it’s a question of when.

Those are the moments when it’s most important for us to trust—for ourselves, and for our kids who are watching. After all, we can choose. We have full ownership of our actions, but at same time, we don’t have to abandon the innocent trust that came so easily during childhood.

We might not see an easy solution to the problem. But even in the midst of that tension, we can choose to open our hands and say, “I don’t know what to do. But God, I trust You.”

It’s nice when trust leads to a happy ending. I like it when I can show my kids that everything works out the way I hoped it would—because then I can easily point to God’s faithfulness along the way. But I think the decision to trust is the teachable moment . . . not the outcome. When I feel out of control, I can still choose to trust God and believe that my life is in His hands. I don’t have to wait until everything is fixed; I can be honest with my kids and let them see the emotions that I’m struggling with along the way.

Our kids don’t have a lot of control in their lives—yet. But maybe we can model for them what it looks like to trust, regardless of the outcome. When they grow up, they won’t forget it.



What Should Kids Know About Good Friday?

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by Carey Nieuwhof

It’s Good Friday–one of the most humbling, powerful and difficult days Christians observe. To think about the trial, torture and execution Jesus endured for humanity’s sake is truly astounding.

If you’re like most of us, you might struggle to figure out how to talk to your children about Good Friday. I know when my kids were younger, I always wanted to skip to Easter Sunday . . .  to the happy ending. Something in us is hardwired to do that.

I can’t tell you how to talk to your kids about Good Friday. But I imagine there will be something inside you like there is in me that will want to spare our kids the tragedy of the story. Something that will make us want to pretend it’s all better, when maybe it’s not. The crosses we wear around our necks are far shinier than Jesus’ cross ever was. We always sanitize or ignore the things with which we are uncomfortable. We want to shelter our kids from a story that is gruesome.

No one wants to raise sheltered kids, but we sure try to protect them. The thought of your daughter falling off her bike and skinning an elbow makes you shudder (I’m not saying it shouldn’t). My natural impulse is to try to shield my kids from as much pain as possible. And so I will naturally try to skip over the message of today, or at least clean the cross up to make it less gruesome than it was.

But as my kids entered their teenage years, I realized that the world they are growing up in is indeed the world for which Jesus died. I can see the world they are navigating is complex, filled with tragedy, irony, joy and sadness. Life doesn’t skip us to the happy ending. It doesn’t for adults. It doesn’t for teens. And honestly, ask your third grader how things are on the playground sometimes. She’ll tell you. She sees the wrong and is trying to make sense of it.

Which is why I’m incredibly grateful for today . . . that we have a God who didn’t gloss over the pain we suffer through, but instead embraced it more deeply than I ever would dare. I’m thankful for the raw message of Good Friday.  Somehow, if we completely shelter our kids from the pain of today, we let them miss one of the most powerful realities they will ever encounter in this life.

I don’t know how to tell young kids about Good Friday in a perfect way, but I do know this: when we shelter our sons and daughters from it, we keep from them one of the most profound and powerful messages for their faith. A message that, in all honesty, they need to hear sooner than we might think.