“There’s only one way to find out if you can trust somebody… trust them”
~ Albert Einstein~
After feeling a very valid quote for many years, I must say I could’ve changed my thinking around this. The obvious reasons for such a thought change: Michael Jackson and George Pell.
Ok, don’t get me wrong, life is full of choices. Choices which can be life-changing and others not so much. Choices in all that we do make us; on a daily basis, who we are, create our personality type and mould the life we live. I’m going to go out on a limb to say this: trust creates us, truly.
So, like many of us, when a spare moment arises (some people have plenty by the look of their Facebook feeds), for me after the little one is down and my day is done; I flick through what treasures the world of news and social media have to offer me for another day. On this day, like many before it, I am greeted with a flurry of George Pell opinion pieces. Disgusting, highly scouring and at times hard to swallow. Stories and insights from so many, not that I need to write my own opinion on the timeline of events of this ogre, I feel I need to clear up why the situation and so many like it continue to occur. My simple answer: trust.
Many of the articles permeate with the topic of trust and its issues surrounding the institutional rite of passage from days gone by. As a society, historically, we’ve given our trust to the entitled entities for all the wrong reasons. We could go on forever about this but reading just one article questioned my whole take on choice and my very belief asserted in my introductory stanza. Its author has simply gone too far with his ‘credentialed’ analysis this time. Andrew Bolt is his name, intimidating, pompous and blunt journalism is his game. He weighs in on, well, everything and after hearing that former Prime Minister John Howard gave one rich personal character check for Cardinal Pell, it is no real surprise Mr. Bolt felt it necessary to back the alleged villain. All in all, it is simple opinion piece propaganda and everyone is entitled to this, hence, I’ll offer mine.
Here’s where my issues lie:
We place, using Albert Einstien’s wonderful quote at the top of this blog, huge amounts of trust in those who should support us most and find ourselves begging for answers as to why they continue to let us down.
Trust is something we inherit from others (parents, friends etc) when it is something which should be earnt, entirely. If only we had a detector on untrustworthy folk. (ahem) Well, according to a recent study, we do. They come in the form of dogs. We know dogs have an incredible sense of smell and an all-conquering myriad of skills which make our hearts melt. One thing I came across with dogs was their ability to scent out cancer to the exact location – mind-blowing, right? Then, it popped right into my field of view, plain as day. Just last year, a scientific study was administered to enhance the locating of sex-offenders around schools and parks, with the intention of keeping our kids safe from predators. As the tracking system currently being used by our community tells us, we are able to have photo-accompanied profiles to match any suspicious members of our neighbourhood on show. In other words, we have a giant catalogue of those you should steer clear of in your community. Let’s be honest, we don’t exactly stroll around town, holding this list as if a map, navigating the ‘not-so-hot’ spots. Enter Trusty dog Experiment. Its results were crazy good for all of us! In this experiment, dogs were offered treats by random strangers of all walks in life and whether the exact same treat was taken or not came down to the very attribute of trust. If the dog perceived the person to be a ‘bad person’ it would not take the tasty snack – something I would imagine to very difficult for a dog. It proved, once again, dogs are extremely loyal to their owners and, that even when good could come of letting their loved ones down (ie; a snack), they would choose loyalty, in fear of losing trust, every time. The experiment proved that dogs are very privy to personality traits; pretention and authenticity; that they are extremely sensitive to social cues, often missed by adult humans, and that they have an inspiring sense of selflessness, putting the needs of others before their own – the very essence of trust. As our old friend, actor, Bill Murray bluntly states, “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person”.
So, why link this to the whole ordeal of recent tumultuous times? Are we supposed to employ dogs to guard institutes? Of course not, the key message is that humans are tainted, we aren’t always great people who do great things. But a lot of us do. My aim in writing this is to show that trust is very important and to offer a necessary step in educating our youth to be better judges of character and learn what real trust looks and feels like.
Within most things, I am involved in (marriage, workplace, classrooms, footy clubs) trust is paramount in the development of the community, a sense of belonging and positive outcomes driven by goal attainment. I speak often to many about vulnerability. This is a great ingredient but doesn’t hit the mark with finding skills in seeking who we trust and who we should not. Building trust (and keeping it for that matter) can be uncomfortable, similar to brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. I can tell you one thing though, it will get easier, it will get more comfortable. Within the classroom realm, my focus is belonging, and a lot of this comes down to relationships and trust. Each individual within owns a brick (has their name on it and everything), this brick is simply a laminated piece of card but it means and stands for so much more. It, as an individual brick, belongs to something far more powerful: a wall. In this sense, the kids are not just “another brick in the wall” either, it shows each individual that they are part of something bigger; that their actions impact others, in both positive and negative ways, they have to earn a trusting bond with those around them and that their learning can come with the nurturance and safety net of their peers. Together a formidable wall is established and this trust, if broken, can consequently crumble the entire system within which it belongs.
In life we will have our trust built and broken on many occasion, if all else fails, let us confide in our very own William Shakespeare. “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”