October 26, 2007

On Trust

Now that we're starting to settle in to our routine (or non-routine, really) I can finally get back to talking about trust.

Here's how my handy widget dictionary defines trust:
-Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.

-The state of being responsible for someone or something.

-A hope or expectation.

-To allow someone to have, use or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence.

A couple weeks ago I was telling Jerry that there's a form of unschooling where the parents give their children complete freedom to make their own choices. His eyes got really big and he got a huge grin on his face. "Would that be a good idea for us?" I asked.

"No way!" he said, "I'd probably just play video games all day."

I laughed, but at the same time I felt a little sad. I want him to trust himself with those choices, but I know I'm not entirely ready to hand them over to him. Thankfully, I've (finally!) recognized that I don't need to hand them over all at once. I'm working my way up to a "firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength" of my son. But I'm taking baby steps.

One thing that stands out to me in the above definitions of trust is the emphasis on "belief" and "confidence." Part of the problem I was having at the start of our unschooling, with letting Jerry set his own screen time, was that I was giving trust without belief or confidence--and that's not trust. No wonder we were having problems!

Jerry knows I don't have all the answers. He can see that I'm asking questions, making choices, evaluating, and correcting as we go. We talk about my choices, and his, and we try to come up with a plan that works for all of us (my husband, included).

I still think Jerry takes comfort in some of the boundries we've set for him. But as time goes by, we'll lift those boundries and shift control to him. When we're ready.

As my confidence and belief in my son grows, so will his confidence and belief in himself grow.

That's my hope.

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