Earning Trust
Sam Trumbore | Feb 27, 2019

Trust was the theme for the month of February. The Meaning Matters groups use a packet of materials to go deeper with the monthly theme. In it, was a link to an online video by Brene Brown, a researcher many of us know from her work on vulnerability. This video explores what she titles “the anatomy of trust.”

She tells a compelling story about her 10 year-old daughter who came home from school in tears. She had shared something embarrassing on the playground with another couple of girls who had immediately shared it around to others. When recess ended, everyone was making fun of her back in her class. To stop the disruptive and hurtful behavior, the teacher threatened to take marbles out of their marble jar. The teacher used putting marbles in the class’s marble jar as a reward for good behavior in the classroom and removed them when behavior was bad. If the jar got full, they’d have a big reward, a way to teach communal deferred gratification.

Through the tears in her eyes, her daughter exclaimed, “I will never trust anyone ever again!”

Brown realized this was a teachable moment. She explained not everyone is worthy of her daughter’s trust. Trust is built over time just like filling up that marble jar. It takes lots of marbles to build a strong trusting relationship with someone. She asked her daughter if she had any marble jar friends. Her daughter brightened up saying “Yes, Hannah and Lorna.” Brown asked what they had done to earn her trust. She told her that Lorna would give her a half-a-hinny seat if the lunch table was full. And Hannah said hello to her grandparents at a soccer game.

These seemed to Brown like small, not very significant gestures to build much trust. Those answers stimulated her to investigate the topic of building trust by looking at research data. …

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