If it's Friday it must be Regina. We arrived at the church hall where I was to be presenting and got ourselves all set up. This was not a general conference where anyone can attened. Instead this was an inservice for staff of one organization only. There are benefits to both conferences and inservices. With conferences you spread the message far and wide, with inservices you aim to make the information sink more deeply into the culture of an organization. I like both challenges.
As I sat at my table getting my notes ready and getting into the 'zone' for presenting I watched them fill in. There were a little over a hundred of them. The first thing I noticed was that there was a unusually high number of men in the room. Somewhere between a third and a half were men. The second thing that I noticed was they they were all quite young.
Young crowds are a little different than older crowds. Young people still remember school and equate training with being bored. Older crowds are just grateful for a day away from the worksite and often care more about the lunch than the presentation. Generalizations to be sure but younger crowds are, over all, just a wee harder to get on side.
They had chosen the topic of Communication, and as part of that they are required to do a group excercize. Each group of 6 has to write down a defininition of the word 'trust'. There's a point to be made from this, but it's not the point of the blog. I've done this presenation and this excercize a couple of thousand times. And I hear a lot of really good and thoughtful definitions.
But here in a church hall in Regina, one of the groups came ups with a definition that really struck me. I found at the end of the day I was still thinking about it so I asked them if I could keep a copy and if I could publish it on my blog.
Here it is ...
Trust is something very precious and valuable that is not given freely or easily, expecially when it has been mistreated or violated in the past, instead it is given carefully and guardedly to one who through constant and proven care has earned the prviledge of receving such a valuable gift. The one giving this gift is becoming vulnerable, the one receiving the gift has been given power. We have to value this trust and guard it as much as possible with the genuine and consistant desire to use this power to help and support the one who has given us this trust.
In all my years of doing this, this was the first group who looked at the power that trust gives another. The power to hurt, the power to heal. They understood, through their definition that they needed to be very careful as keepers of that power.
When I was given the paper they'd used to write the definition on I put it carefully among my notes. As I read it, I wasn't sure if it would mean as much to anyone else as it did to me. But I'm taking the chance and hoping that just reading this will make you aware of the power of trust, the vulnerability of trusting and the precious nature of the shared obligations that come with trust and trusting.
It did me.
I hope it does for you too.
Thanks to the Regina group who gave this to me. I'm going to keep it in my lecture notes for a long time.