Security, Trust and Contentment

In my third year of teaching second graders, I had a student who was, what I like to call, a handful and a half. In addition to academic challenges, his emotions weren’t steady and his friendships weren’t strong.

Hoping to increase his security in himself as a reader, we used a system to increase his vocabulary. Not only did I hope his reading would improve, but he’d hopefully see me as an advocate who believed in him.One day, Craig let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he didn’t like the system. He ripped vocabulary cards into pieces and dramatically threw them to the floor. He screamed as he looked out to his classmates, “Now they all know I’m stupid, too!”

Sadly, because of what we were doing to increase his self-security and security in me, he believed peers had figured out he was stupid. He wasn’t, of course, and they weren’t paying close attention. But, his perception was that they were and that’s what mattered. His ability to trust them had decreased and he didn’t believe they would trust him, either.

I regret Craig’s pain and I would do things differently with all the experience I’ve gained. But, it serves to remind me that improving one type of security can diminish another. It’s not as easy or automatic as it seems. Each is important: security in self, in others who are more knowledgeable and experienced, and in God.

Trust leads to learning, growth, peace, joy, and contentment. How are you doing at creating it? Responding to it?