>Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him. –Booker T. Washington
I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. – Mother Theresa
Without being overly simple, the reason that parents must teach their children to trust is because trust has been broken and therefore they do not naturally do it. This may not be a universal fact that everyone agrees with, but I think a few examples from the moment of birth demonstrate it for me.
When a baby is born food is the issue. So if you do not feed them, they will cry to let the world around them know they are hungry. Similarly I remember seeing the video at a breast feeding class of where they place a new born, perhaps a few days old or even younger, on the mothers belly and this baby manages to move himself up the mother to her breast to feed.
There is value in both of these situations, yes being self aware and sometime self centered will save your life, so I am not making a value judgment on whether babies should act this way. Rather it seems to me for the beginning we do not look to other but work on our own to solve the issues or cause such a fuss that others have to react. We take things into our own hands. I have heard Psychologist and Social Scientist refer to it as the Reptilian part of our brain taking over, my simple understanding of this is pure instinct where reason, trust, and the view of others are set aside and we are solely motivation by self.
The place where my value judgment does come in is why this exists, the fact that we do it is neither good or bad, but the root of where it comes from in my opinion is a spiritual wound that has slice our heart and is very difficult to heal. Parents aware of this can work to engage their children to not merely live out from that wound but move to a place of trust. So where does the wound come from?
The Creation Narrative found in Genesis 1-3 is helpful for me. This primeval, pre-mortal account of the world offers insights to me though no direct answers to where the wound originated but rather shows it is at root in our existence. The case I’m making is there was need for trust (some might call it faith) from the beginning, the lack of trust exposed us to wounded hearts.
Adam and Eve are the childlike adults in this story, wandering naked through a perfect garden with little we know by way of guidance other than God telling Adam to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they will surely die, and positively telling them to be fruitful and multiply while tending the garden. Notice I said God told Adam, the first hint of a lack of trust comes when Eve repeats the command regarding the tree of life, Genesis 3:3 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” We are never told why she added “neither shall you touch it”, was that her own invention or did Adam not trust her reasoning enough he felt it necessary to exaggerate the command to her. I tend to side with him exaggerating, children and husbands often will blow it with communication because they do not trust that they will be heard if they merely speak truth. To me it is this interaction that opens the door for a full blown lack of trust, providing a wide open door for wounds to guide Adam and Eve (eventually us) rather than naked child likeness.
Genesis 3:4-7, 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
The child no longer needs to ask about trustworthiness the was Eve and Adam did, but rather is born into a state where the question is decided. I am born into a world naked and vulnerable and trusting I’ll be taken care of is not even an option. We read in the account with Eve, she had the question running through her mind, Genesis 3:6 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Seriously, something that looks so good is going being denied to me, what is up with that.
Once God was not longer trustworthy a fall was inevitable. The beauty to a fall is there are only two ways to get up, on your own or have another help. It is key in parenting that we see our role as one helping our children get up, the fall leaves wounds that heal best when we trust others who are trustworthy. Being trustworthy, evaluating others, and ultimately leading children to seek the answer to “Is God trustworthy?” is all grey and very difficult. The first step for me is recognizing the remarkable picture that we enter this world utterly helpless and yet completely distrusting that our needs will be met.