Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are you Trustworthy?

Trust: a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone b: one in which confidence is placed

So today I am sharing one of my pet peeves – that is the lack of trustworthiness that many parents and spouses have. I don’t profess to be perfect at this but when I see it or experience it, it really bothers me.

I am sure we have all experienced sharing something we expected to be kept confidential and have found that our information has been past on. In some instances the effects of this are minimal but in others the consequences are far-reaching and the trust of others is diminished.

I think that we often feel that unless someone has specifically asked us to keep something in confidence it is okay to share with others. But if we use our common sense when someone shares an experience, feeling, struggle, or weakness with us we will know when to keep it to ourselves.

Often it seems even when we have been asked to keep something confidential we seem to think it okay to go to one, just one, other person and share the news but of course we are always sure to tell them to not pass the information onto another. Then we’re fine right?!?

I don’t think so. I have experienced sharing a concern that I had with someone and I meant for that thought to stay with that one person but instead I was approached with my own words from another source. I felt insecure and somewhat embarrassed. It bothered me and I now feel like I have to keep my guard up in many instances.

I think we so often find it okay to share embarrassing or private experiences of our children with others. You know the stories that as soon as they’re brought up your child says, “Mooommm.” If you aren’t exactly sure how to read that it is that Mom you hear when your child is really saying, “Mom, please don’t bring that up.”

Do we treat our children how we would like to be treated? Can our children trust us? Can they trust that we won’t share something that was embarrassing for them? Can they trust us with a problem or concern? Can they trust that we will keep things to ourselves?

This is not only common with the trust of our children but what about our spouses. I have heard all too often negative remarks about something a husband did or said. Shouldn’t that be kept in confidence? The rest of the world does not need to hear the faults of your spouse, not even your Mom or Dad. I know that I would not like it if my husband told others every mistake I make or every embarrassing moment I have. I expect that he will keep that between us and I don’t think that I should have to ask him to do so. (By the way, he does a great job at this J.)

Sometimes I hear things that are not necessarily negative about a child or a spouse but seem like they should have been kept private. Shouldn’t our children and spouses feel secure that what happens in our homes won’t be the gossip of a girl’s night out or a topic of discussion in the break room at work?

Some things are meant to be kept private and sometimes they are meant to be kept more sacred. Some things should be kept confidential for the confidence, respect, and trust of our loved ones.

I think there is something that brings us joy when sharing the inside scoop about someone with another, but we should strive to find peace and joy in knowing that someone trusts us and our opinion and advice enough to share something with us. We should find joy in being able to witness that funny or embarrassing moment but not in sharing it with others. We should build a relationship with our spouses that allow us to work through things together instead of to rant the situation out to some uninvolved source.

I know that as we strive to build stronger relationships of trust we will come closer together as families. Our children will be more apt to share personal experiences, feelings, and concerns. We will have greater love, respect, and trust in our marriages. We will feel more confidence and openness in our homes. We will feel more tightly knit and unified as families.

I hope we all can strive to strengthen the trust of our loved ones.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so glad you wrote about that. It's a thing I need to work on. In fact we had to choose something to work on for 3 months in seminary and my goal was exactly what you wrote about (being trustworthy, no gossip etc). Thanks for this post!

Valerie said...

I completely agree! I remember when I was in 6th grade I had a friend whose mother would tell everyone (in the family, friends, strangers) embarassing and personal stories about my friend. I started to get very nervous about talking to my mother because I was afraid she would do the same thing. After I talked to her about my concerns, I felt she really wouldn't do that and I was able to talk to her. I have tried to do the same with my children and my spouse, who is very good at not sharing personal things. I love your story in the last post about service too! You have a great blog.