Friday, April 26, 2013

The Fruits of Trust

A priest writes in the Catholic Digest how he wanted to meet the teacher he had in first-year grammar school. He was told he could find the teacher by going to the I love School website, but learned that the teacher had been retired for many years and no other information was available.

He was convinced he would find her because of his great desire. A woman he knew, whose husband worked at the department of education, after a week of searching gave the priest the address and telephone number.

The teacher, surprised at the call, was happy to hear from a student she had taught some 43 years ago. Eager to find how he had fared during all those years since first grade, she agreed to meet him.

The reason he wanted to meet the teacher came from a talk he had heard.  The lecturer said we all want to receive trust, which is often the reason we need to show trust toward others. He told the story of a famous convict, who after many thefts, prison stays and escapes, ended his life in prison.  As a child the convict one day did not bring crayons to school, and the teacher told him that even if he had to steal them, he should have brought crayons to class. This was the reason, the convict said, that started him on his road of crime. Not once did he ever receive a pat on the back during his schooling. The story reminded the priest of his own experience with crayons.

His  family was very poor, he says, and he too did not have have any crayons for art class. He would always have to use the crayons of the student seated next to him in class. This was alright for one or two times, but he didn't feel right doing it continually, so he asked his mother for money to buy the crayons. He  was shy and during art class always felt stressed, he says, so he decided to handle the situation by telling his mother that without the crayons he was not going to school.

What mother would not buy crayons for their children? he asks. Though knowing she had little money to spend for such things, he did not go to school the next day, which prompted his mother to give him a good flogging. That night he cried bitterly at the unfairness of it all. Besides not having the crayons, which he thought he should have, he was now being beaten for making this simple request. When his mother made it up to him by putting medicine on his legs and consoling him, his anger subsided but he was still fearful of going to school the next day.

How was he going to explain being absent? And how would the teacher react? he kept wondering.  He went to school with a heavy heart. The teacher, seeing his awkwardness and dispirited attitude, quietly hugged him. At that moment, he said, he was freed from fear. The trust from the teacher made all the difference, and he returned to his cheery self.

From that time on, he had a great deal of trust in teachers. If he had not received that affirmation, he wonders what would have happened to him and whether he would now have a correct outlook on life.

Trusting another is a sign of love, he says. If you are only trusted when you do the right thing and not trusted when you do something wrong, that is not a sign of love. It is especially when you do something wrong, and someone still shows trust in you that you will be affected, often leading to a new and more trusting way of life.  This, he concludes, is what the teacher did  for him.