Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust entails being vulnerable, because by trusting you are  putting yourself into others’ hands. We have to trust experts – pilots, dentists, surgeons with our day to day existence and comfort; we trust that a floor will not give way as we walk on it; or that a car driver is going to obey the rules of the road  and not drive at us up the pavement…. Yet, within our society as a whole we are not good at practising trust; there often seems to be a mutual distrust between people, and a noticeable and pronounced distrust of government figures and politicians in our national life.  We have developed as an “us and them” culture.

‘Trust in the Lord’ is a central theme in the Psalms. Time and time again, God is acknowledged as the source of all true security and strength. This is contrasted with trust in chariots, horses, weapons, wealth or princes (Psalm 20 verse 7; 118 verse 8-9). (I  expect  you can easily think of the modern day equivalents of these weapons.) Trust placed in the wrong things is close to idolatry, and  will probably let  you down.

Marriage is another institution which is founded on mutual trust, and could be described as  a God-given framework in which human trust can actually be developed. The wording of the Christian marriage vows spells out this mutuality of trust and support, and should be seen as a strong message to nurture trusting relationships in a society where the breakdown of trust is widespread.

Trust is central to civilised society, we  need  it  to live together in harmony and to function as  a  peaceful unit , so it is to be valued and honoured. With wisdom and discernment, we can relearn to trust each other. We can begin to rebuild trust in our mistrustful society by being reliable ourselves and by not letting people down. When we work with others we should be willing to let go of the controlling position and trust in the abilities and integrity of others, and ultimately the result will be that all will find this enriching.   Jesus himself is a wonderful example of this, as he entrusted his ongoing mission to his disciples (whom many would have regarded as quite a bunch of misfits)  and ultimately, of course, that mission has now been entrusted to us.

Trust in School

Ethos

  • How does the school deal with situations where trust has been broken?
  • How are diffident pupils helped to trust their own judgement and over-exuberant pupils helped to give way to others?
  • What positions of trust do pupils hold in the school? Is everyone given an opportunity to be trusted with something of significance?

Worship

  • The Psalms convey the message of trust in God strongly—are they used in school worship (probably in the form of more popular worship songs)?
  • Does prayer help pupils understand how they can place their trust in God?

Curriculum

  • How do pupils learn trust and co-operation through a variety of classroom activities?
  • Where do pupils learn about and experience true teamwork?
  • How do pupils learn to make and trust their own judgements?
  • Where do pupils learn how to build relationships of trust with people from different cultures and backgrounds?
  • How do we encourage our children to trust, whilst at the same time balancing this with the message that they should be personally careful and not trust everyone?
  • Where are pupils taught about the need for trust in the building of relationships, including in marriage?

Leadership

  • Do leaders model trustworthiness?
  • How do pupils, governors and staff know they can trust each other?  How do you promote relationships of trust within the school?
  • How far are leaders able to “let go” and trust in the ability of others?
  • What do you feel are the most important things that you have been entrusted with as leaders of your school?