By: Dr. David McIntosh
When I was growing up, we did not have a lot of money. Dad was often laid off from Chrysler during my teenage years. So, I had to look for different ways to make extra money. When I was 15 I ran a trapline to earn money to pay for clothes, buy Christmas presents, and save for a car. I ran a trapline that ran about 6 miles down Buck Creek to Blue River in Henry County. I also ran a trapline through a big swamp. Every year I would lose a few traps and I was at the point where I needed to replace some of the hand-me-downs from my dad and grandpa. So, I went to Western Auto in Knightstown and purchased a couple dozen traps. Because I had not sold any of the fur yet (I usually would wait until the end of the season and make one trip to the fur buyer in New Castle.), the owner was nice enough to sale them to me and he would let me pay for them once I sold my fur. A couple weeks later, my dad said the owner of the Western Auto shared with him that I had purchased a couple dozen traps, and asked him about when I planned to pay for them. Dad, I think was surprised that I had purchased something without telling him, but asked what my plan was to pay them back. I shared that I planned to pay them once I sold the fur. He didn’t say anything and he never brought it up to me again. He trusted me! I think this was the first time that I can remember my dad trusting me with something, something important! It meant a lot and still does. It built my confidence. It taught me to take risks but also I knew by dad had my back. It taught me how talk to an adult when making a transaction. It taught me responsibility. All of these things I learned came from being trusted.
I think letting children, adolescents, and students know you trust them is one of the most important gifts you can give them. A gift they will carry with them the rest of their lives and hopefully pass on to their own children. Look for ways to let your children and students know you trust them. You don’t always have to say you trust them. In many cases, they will know. During the pandemic is a particularly important time to show you trust your children or students. We will need to trust them more as we move away from the pandemic and back to the real world…and, they will need to know we trust them.