This month we will focus on the powerful word; “trustworthiness.”
Trustworthiness declares its definition in the word itself. One who is trustworthy is “worthy” or deserving of someone’s “trust” or confidence. While straightforward, trustworthiness is not easily achieved. Trust must be earned.
Trustworthiness is earned by (1) consistently telling the truth, (2) keeping promises and commitments, (3) maintaining confidentiality, (4) refraining from stealing or cheating, (5) choosing to do the right thing and (6) being accountable for one’s mistakes.
While some might believe that people become more cynical and untrusting as they age, a growing body of research shows the opposite. In fact, a new study out of Northwestern University suggests that trust increases as people get older and that those who trust more are also more likely to experience increased happiness over time (Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2015).
On the flip side, some might believe that children are all very trusting. However, research has shown that children by the age of four are able to discern who is and who is not trustworthy.
Who teaches our children about trustworthiness? Those in our families, schools and communities can certainly have a strong, positive influence.
However, there are also many negative influences. Public figures in sports, government and media have been caught lying, cheating, reneging on promises and even breaking the law. Whether we like it or not, many young people look up to these public figures as role models when they are, in fact, “anti-role models.”
The more we talk about trustworthiness with our children, the more they will learn what we expect of them and what they can expect from us. We want young people to know that trust is earned and must be treated with respect.
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