Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > The Burden of Your Trust

The Burden of Your Trust

Dad always gave me good advice. Eventually, I even followed it.

How often have you told someone a secret thinking that they would keep it, but soon found out otherwise? How often have you loaned something out and been disappointed with the result?

Who’s at fault when a trust is betrayed?

According to my Dad, fault lies with the person who extended their trust in the first place. Here’s how he put it to me when I was a young teenager who felt betrayed by a friend:

“Dave, trust is a heavy thing. Think about it. Some people can carry a big pack a long way across rough ground because they are strong and put their mind to it. Others can’t do that no matter what. They’re just not strong enough, physically or mentally.

U.S. Marine in Helmand province. Semper Fi!

Your trust is like that heavy pack. If you give it to a person who is small and weak inside, you can be pretty sure they won’t be able to carry the load very far. And then if you still force them to carry the pack, what do you think will happen?”

“But, Dad,” I say, “he’s my best friend. Friends shouldn’t do that!”

“Well, you two may think of yourselves as friends, but he can still be too small inside to carry the weight of your trust in a lot of ways.”

“Maybe,” I reply, “but how can I know if a person is big enough inside?”

“It’s really not that hard, son. Just pay attention. Do they do what they say they will about small things? If they don’t, they probably won’t in big things either. Who do they blame for their own mistakes? If it’s not themselves, they’re not very strong inside. When they mess up, do they try to pretend it didn’t happen? You get the idea.”

With Dad having just profiled teenagers as a social demographic, I whine, “If what you say is true, that means there are a lot of people I shouldn’t trust. And not many people should trust me.”

“Well,” Dad says, “Not quite. You really can trust most people, but only up to a point. The heavier your trust, the fewer people can carry it.

“And as for you, you can make yourself stronger inside if you want. When you think about someone else’s trust as a burden for you to carry, you’ll be able to take it farther each time you try. Like actually mowing the lawn when you say you will, for example.”

“Then,” Dad continues, “there are all the other people, the ones who are very small inside and will stay that way. You can trust them to cave in when they meet a heavy choice, or one that requires some fortitude, or even one that makes them just a little uncomfortable. Since you can trust them to fail, you can protect yourself and others you care about. Just don’t be too close when the pack hits the ground and the contents splatter all over.”

As idiot teenagers do, I ignored Dad’s advice for years until the consequences of my stupid choice forced even me to accept the truth of what he said.

Since then, I’ve tried to be worthy of carrying any weighty pack I agree to pick up. And, I try to be careful about burdening others with one I’m sure is too heavy for them.

Fortunately, it’s been much easier than I thought to keep these goals in front of me. Politicians, media people and celebrities are an endless source of examples that prove Dad’s point every day.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: