Originally posted on May 4, 2012, on Miss P’s Ponderings

Who do you trust?

 The reason I ask is…well, I have thought about trust off and on this week, so I thought I’d jot down my thoughts. 

Trust is one of those topics I talk about frequently in my classroom throughout the year. Sometimes, during our class meetings, I’ll read a book that focuses on a trust issue and then we, as a class, discuss it. Often, during one of the first trust discussions, I share an incident that took place many years ago in my classroom…the students involved are now college graduates. Let’s see…

 We were outside at recess when two students came up to me to report that a third student, with whom they had been shooting baskets, had said a “bad word”. The third student came up, looked me in the eye, and announced that he had not said such a thing. What’s a teacher to do?

 This is what I did…
“Well, all three of you are known as honest and trustworthy students. None of you, to my knowledge, have ever lied to me. So, the three of you can ‘go to the line’ until all three of you agree on what the truth is.”

 At that point, the three went to the line, which told me instantly that the boy had said it. I don’t know many third graders who would give up recess time just to get someone else in trouble with a made-up story. We reentered into the school and went downstairs to take our timed math test. Still, none of the three students changed their stories.

 So, the next step was taken…without giving names I shared something like this… 
“Trust is very important. When we are honest, it’s always best. Even if we have to be honest about a bad choice, it’s better to be honest. Honesty maintains trust. When someone breaks that trust, it’s hard to build it back again.”

 Then, I dismissed my students to the restroom, but…one boy dawdled behind. He came up to “tell me the truth” so that I would continue to “trust” him.

 This week, another incident happened in my classroom. A student made a bad choice. A second student witnessed and reported the action. After the others had left the room, I asked the accused student about the report.

 “Someone reported that you…, did you?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Why would you do that? I know you know it’s wrong.”
“I don’t know why I did it, but I know it would be considered stealing.”

 Without me saying a thing, he started to the behavior board where he proceeded to turn his card. I thanked him for his honesty and encouraged him not to repeat the bad choice. Honesty practiced; trust maintained.

 My final illustration of trust focuses on the staff at my school. Last night, I made a batch of Chex mix to take to my small group tonight. In fact, they’re meeting right now, but due to a sore throat and lack of energy I opted to come home to take meds, drink fluid, and rest. So, I had a couple small containers of Chex mix that I wouldn’t be able to give away at my small group. So, I took them into our teachers’ lounge. I didn’t write my name on the containers nor did I write the type of Chex mix.

 Wouldn’t you know it…when I went in to get my mail at 2:50, both containers were empty. They simply trusted that whomever made it…didn’t have cockroaches crawling on the cabinets.

 So…who do you trust and who trusts you?

 Are you the type of person that people trust? When you slip and tell a half-truth (which is really a full lie), are you quick to admit your failing so that trust can be restored?

 When you make a bad choice (which would be sin) do you not only confess and repent to God but also seek forgiveness from the one your bad choice affected?

 Do you practice trust, like those teachers did, when they ate Chex Mix without knowing who made it? [Umm, only do this in places you know can be trusted.]

 Most importantly, do you trust the One who created you, who sent His Son to die on a cross to take the punishment for all your bad choices? If not, I’d love to share with you how you can learn to trust Him by accepting the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

 “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.” –Psalm 12:17

 In case you’re wondering, both of those boys learned another lesson…besides the importance of trust. They both experienced a lesson in mercy, too. But that lesson will have to wait for another blog post. Trust me…

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