Unless you’re not a cat enthusiast, this photo can’t help but draw an “Aw-w-w-w” from you. This little 18-month old girl, pacifier in place, sound asleep with her arm comfortingly across a cat as big, or bigger, than she is—I can’t think of a more perfect picture of “trust.” The cat knows the girl will not squeeze the life out of it, or pull its whiskers. The girl has no fear of being hurt by the cat’s claws. They trust each other—trusting so completely they can sleep soundly.
But where did this trust come from? It wouldn’t have developed if the little girl did things to the cat that hurt it. It wouldn’t have developed if the cat hissed and bared its claws every time the child invaded its perceived territory. Trust is built on knowledge and experiences. I’m sure the little girl’s mother and father watched closely as this relationship of trust developed to make certain no harm occurred.
So who do you trust with your kids? Their hockey or soccer coach? Their school teachers? Their circle of friends? Those who produce TV shows and develop other media they indulge in? The list goes on. But perhaps the question shouldn’t be who do you trust to influence your kids, but why do you trust them? Do you know their personal lives, the language used in the locker room, the political views, and most of all their belief in God? Do you watch closely as those relationships of trust between your kids and others in their lives develop to make certain no harm will occur?
Is that possible, or even desirable? We can’t go looking in closets and under beds of everyone our kids associate with! Does God want to turn us all into helicopter parents? Of course not. However, he does say in Psalm 118:8, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” The one place to put all your trust about any issue in your kids’ lives is the Bible. That’s where we know whom to trust; God’s Word never fails. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I can hear our kids now: “Mom, don’t you dare ask my coach/teacher/friends questions. They’ll make fun of me and it’ll ruin my life forever.” I get it. But God, in his wisdom knew that would be coming, so he tells us in Psalm 119:42, “. . . I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.”
The clue to making this work is letting your kids know about trust—who to trust, why to trust, how far to trust—early on in their lives. Then they grow up with the understanding that the only one they can trust completely is God (followed by you, of course), and that anyone or anything else must earn their trust. Even if your kids are already past the “tell it early and tell it often” stage, it’s not too late to start. You’ll probably have to take some grief in the process, but your kids’ lives—their eternal lives—are at stake. That’s worth a little grief, don’t’ you think?
I have a whole chapter on trust in my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? You can read it online using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Get more information about the ways Pied Pipers are leading our kids on paths away from God at the book’s website DibsOnYourKids.com. Let me know what you think.