Trust is something that we all work to earn. Once it is lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to earn back. Trust is not something that can be developed unless you first have developed a relationship. Without a relationship there can be no trust.
This week there were two glaring examples of the impact of trust on specific situations. One worked out better than could be expected. One took a turn for the worse. The direction of these situations was determined by the trust that the individual had developed with the people involved.
Antoinette Tuff, a bookkeeper in an Atlanta area school, gained the trust of an armed gunman and averted what could have been a very deadly situation. She was calm throughout the ordeal and gained the trust of the gunman by being personable and making a real connection. She was the right person for this situation. Listening to the 911 call I was amazed by her calm demeanor and one of her comments really resonated with me- "Sweetie. Everything's going to be OK." The trust that Ms. Tuff developed in such a short time with a mentally unstable individual is remarkable. This level of trust and caring is something that we should all model as educators. I challenge all educators to develop relationships with our students, families, and each other so that we positively impact their lives.
Ryan Braun, leftfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, lost the trust of baseball fans in Milwaukee and throughout Major League Baseball. The Most Valuable Player in 2011, Mr. Braun denied the use of performance enhancing drugs and along the way threw a number of his teammates and others under the bus. He was believable in a news conference during Spring Training in 2012 stating that he had never put anything illegal in his body. We now know that he lied about his cheating ways and recently apologized in a written statement. I live in the Milwaukee area and I'm a big fan of the Brewers. I have a naivete about me and want to believe everything that people say to me. When it is clear that someone is not truthful I lose trust in them. I have now lost the trust I once had in Mr. Braun.
I do not know Ms. Tuff or Mr. Braun but I have learned something from each of them. Ms. Tuff was able to build trust with a mentally unstable stranger and was instrumental in keeping school children and staff safe. She was personable, caring, calm, and nurturing. Ms. Tuff will remain a trusted member of her community because of her actions this week. Mr. Braun lost the trust of many because of his lies. He was deceitful, arrogant, and self-centered. Mr. Braun will have a difficult if not impossible time regaining the trust of his family, friends, and fans.
My hope is that all of us as educators will build trust with our students, families, and each other. Let's learn a lesson from Ms. Tuff and positively impact our students each and every day so that we can tell them, "Sweetie. Everything is going to be OK."