Children are born with an innate willingness to trust in others. Unfortunately, they soon learn that people will let them down. We also know that in their lifetime, some of them will be hurt so deeply that they will determine to only trust in themselves. Every day here at FCS, students walk into their classrooms, bringing with them their own life experiences that are shaping their trust in people. Our younger students have a simple and natural trust that is readily displayed, so when their teacher demonstrates love and genuinely cares for them, they return it back with no reservation. All too soon though our students, because of their own experience to the contrary, begin to hold back their trust and guard themselves from being hurt.
Here at school we also understand that trust is a part of the learning process, and the age of the student is relevant to how the child learns. Young children do not have the skills to analyze information and come to their own conclusions. As parents and teachers, we know that our children learn at an incredible rate, literally from the crib to the classroom. So how is it that children who lack the ability to analyze, experiment, and draw conclusions still accumulate so much knowledge? According to the Huffington Post blog it is because, “children trust what they are told.” The blog goes on to say, “this is why our children’s source of information is so important. If the child’s source of information isn’t trustworthy, and if a teacher isn’t competent or responsible, learning will suffer. So we want our children’s teachers to be competent, but more importantly we need them to be trustworthy. Why does trust in a teacher’s competence matter so much? Because by the age of four, children are already using trust to gauge whom is worth listening to and whom is worth learning from.”1
This is why that here at FCS we believe that our responsibility in communicating truth to our students academically and spiritually is a matter of trust. Our students have already learned that people, even those who are Christians, will sometimes fail them. To fail in being a reliable source of learning for our students is not only part of the academic process, but it has eternal value as well.
We must communicate to them that the only hope which is reliable, and will last for a lifetime, is the truth of God’s Word. We must teach them that the Bible shows us that God is trustworthy, and even when everything else fails, God never fails. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to emphasize that message to the world. The apostle Paul emphasized the importance of growing together through the learning experiences of life. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, Paul says to the church, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” In 21st Century life we don’t often use the word “ought.” In fact, in the English language “ought” simply means “an opinion about something someone should do.” In the Greek language, however, that Paul wrote this verse in, it had a much stronger meaning indicating a “debt or an obligation required.” In teaching the Thessalonians to trust in God completely, Paul instructs them that they “ought” to do certain things. A quick study, of some things we “ought” to do in the New Testament include: we ought to love other believers, we ought to share with those who have needs, we ought to support the weak. In I John the Bible even says we ought to be willing to die for each other.
If we truly want to communicate to students who already are facing the cruel realities of life and have already been disappointed by people in their lives whom they trust, then we “ought” to, in fact we have an obligation, to communicate by our own daily practice that God will never fail them. Paul went on to write in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.” Our students do not have the life experiences that we have as to how God is faithful and will not let us down. Each of us has seen and experienced in our lives how God works and never fails.
The children who live in our homes and sit in our classrooms today face a world like no other generation, and influences from more sources than any generation before them. The length of time in which we have the opportunity to gain their trust grows shorter in every generation. May we as parents and teachers earn the trust of our young children, so that as long as we can influence them, our teaching will be received as a reliable and trustworthy source.
1DeSteno, The Truth About Trust,” 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-desteno/why-trust-early-childhood-education_b_4738206.html