I’ve just returned from being with The Boy (nearly 4-year-old grandson). I was the chief-in-charge for three days while The Parents enjoyed a weekend trip. The duty was daunting. The rewards were sometimes fleeting and always charming.
.Just yesterday I drove the 180 miles back home. A clear blue sky, blowing fall leaves, and mountain vistas accompanied me. Strains of Mozart and Handel and Bernstein filled my car. Hot black coffee and a biscuit kept up my energy. Life was good.
My mind was pondering. Of course.
Trust was the subject.
I thought about the honor I felt at being chosen to be solely responsible for The Boy for three days. Mostly I thought about the trust his parents had in me. They turned The Boy over to me and trusted that we both would be in one piece when they returned, hopefully free of cuts and bruises and scars and other things that befall little boys. The Parents were not disappointed when they returned.
I thought about Friday when The Boy wanted pancakes for lunch, but there wasn’t time. I promised him we would have pancakes and sausages for supper. He didn’t believe me. As a toddler he wanted what he wanted right now! Reasoning and logic were futile. When dinner time came, we had pancakes and sausages as I had promised. I hope that moment helped him learn to trust me, to know that Gramma will do what she says.
I thought about my conversation with the landscapers the day before I left. “If it doesn’t rain, we’ll do it tomorrow,” they said. I would be gone so I wouldn’t know if they showed up or not. Yesterday, when I got home I looked at my yard and all the work was done. Did they do it on the exact day they said? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. They did what they promised. Now they are trusting I’ll pay them for their work.
Trust is not an easy thing. It means we do what we say we will do, that we are a person of our word.
Children learn very early which adults they can trust and which ones they can’t. Our credibility and consistency are critically important in our relationship with the young ones. We are the ones who teach them how to be responsible adults. We set the standards. We explain and explain and explain. We teach and we teach and we teach.
We learn from them how long it takes to learn certain concepts, like trust and honesty and responsibility. They learn from us the patience and the consistency of being the adult who sticks by their word, time after time after time.
The Boy and I navigated the weekend quite well. And isn’t that what we all want — to navigate situations in reasonable fashion and live to tell about it with a smile on our face? Trust makes all the difference.
Trust is a gift we give each other.
Until next Tuesday . . .