Building Trust

Written by Kathy DeVet

When my oldest son was 2, he wanted me and his father to read him Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina every night before bed. Every. Single. Night. For weeks! Reading that book to him over and over (I can still recite a lot of it by heart!) was part of me building trust with him around reading. As he got older, we started reading him chapter books that we picked out, but we tried to make sure they were great stories that we thought he’d like. When he started reading on his own, I would get books that I’d read or read about that I thought he’d like. Usually, he tried the books I gave him because we had that trust between us, that reading was fun and I would choose good books. When he was in 6th grade, he read a book that I hadn’t read yet and told me, “That was a good story!” So, I read it. And it’s one of my all-time favorite books that I’ve re-read at least 5 or 6 times (The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt). My response to his recommendation and agreeing with him about the book continued to develop the trust we had started when he was a toddler.

You may be asking yourself, OK, Kathy, I understand that you like books, but what does this have to do with family ministry?

Well, specifically, the trust we built around books paid off when I was sharing the faith with him. I tried to find exciting books about saints, or that weren’t necessarily religious but embodied virtue and right living. He knew I cared about him enjoying books and reading books and talking about them could be something we experienced together. We still do that even though he is now 23 years old and living in his own house. But that trust paid off in our whole relationship. Our shared enjoyment of reading bound us closer together.

The spiritual feeding therapy path we talk about in The One Best Thing: A Practical Guide for Raising Families of Faith is SO important! Starting with building trust with your child, your spouse, and your extended family prepares the way for you to share your faith with people who are more disposed to hear you. Think about the difference between hearing an excuse from someone you trust and hearing an excuse from someone you don’t trust. You are much more likely to excuse the trusted person than the other one. Same with sharing our faith—we are all more likely to listen to a person we trust than one we have no basis of trust with.

You can draw on that trust when you introduce new ways of family prayer or encourage the family or each child to take the next step spiritually or when your child enters into a new developmental stage and needs something different to feed his or her spirituality.

How will you build trust with your family this week?

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