On Trusting


Learning to Trust

I once wrote about my adopted son Kevin’s staying up all night and playing video games, and the somewhat surprising fact for most of you, was that actually I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care. I do think he needs to have normal hours and I’d much rather him fill his brain with useful information, but I’m not willing to put that before our relationship. In that regard it’s not that important. It does freak a lot of parents out, but that’s because it scares us. It challenges our control issues. We might fuss and fret and quote statistics about how bad playing video games are for the brain, but I’ll tell you what’s worse: Not having a relationship with your child. Perhaps we feel that it’s easier to be controlling about sleep and video games than it is to work on building and maintaining relationships, and you’d be right.

Focusing on those things first will only make it easier to not be in relationship. And I’ll remind you that Kevin is now nineteen years old. In my opinion these are the critical years. These are the years when our relationship is going to carry us over precipice of his transition into adulthood and I’ll be able to maintain some influence over his life, or I’ll lose him and he’ll venture off never to be heard from again. In fact, either could happen, but shall it be the latter I do want him to know, whether he believes it or not, that he is loved.

But, here’s the bottom line. This has nothing to do with my personal beliefs about child rearing, surprise, surprise! It’s about, TRUST. I’m not about to preach here, and honestly in my opinion your religious and spiritual beliefs are your own, but let me ask you a question: Do you believe in God? A few of you will say no and that’s fine, (just bear with me as there is more to this than just religion), but those of you that answer yes, then answer this question: What does believing in God mean to you? Ah yes, I expected you’d say that, so now answer this question: If believing in God means believing that you are loved, forgiven, precious, and special, thereby prompted to be the most loving individual that you can be, why is it so hard to trust that if you are doing your very best to provide love for your chilfren, then God will take care of the rest?

It’s actually simple why we don’t trust. And seriously my friends, we don’t trust. We want too, but we just can’t permit it. The reason being is that we are too full of FEAR. Fear and stress are the biggest enemies when it comes to preventing our ability to trust. And guess what, that’s okay because we are all still growing and learning. The challenge is to not lose faith during the process. The more you can maintain your faith during the time you are the most afraid and stressed, the stronger your faith becomes. The more love grows. And love, my sweetest of the most sweetest friends, is the most powerful healing force in the universe. All things can be accomplished if we can love great enough and long enough.

There’s a Bible verse that I have referenced over the years 1 John 4:18 that says “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear,” but the other part of that verse is “because fear has to do with punishment.” (NIV: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.)

The next time you feel yourself inclined to punish, I want you to ask yourself this question: Why am I so angry with MYSELF right now that I want to punish my child and lose relationship, thus punishing myself? I hope that when you can honestly answer that question, or even just slow down enough to ask yourself that question, you will be touched by a moment or light in the midst of your darkness.

And finally, I leave you with this question: Can we learn to trust more in this moment and fear less? And what might that mean for our personal relationships?

Three days after I wrote the last article about Kevin’s habits, Kevin just started going to bed at night when everyone else went. Some nights he even beats me to bed and then he gets up at about 8:30 am with a smile on his face. I’ve haven’t even mentioned it. We’ve said that we enjoy seeing him during the day. What’s wonderful about this, is that in three years Kevin has never had normal sleeping cycles.

Believe it or not, there’s something in that trust and relationship formula.

I invite you to do some experimenting with trust but remember – you do not trust your child to do what you hope or expect. You are trusting that he/she will do whatever he/she does and that you can use that to teach, to learn and to deepen your relationship. You can trust kids to be who they are, not who they are not. Expect a lot of failures on their parts. And some on your own as well. All this can help build the relationship. Without relationship, you have nothing.

Choose Love, B.