Begin today’s lesson by instructing your students to think about what life was like when they were very young (3 to 5 years old). Give a few students a chance to share some of their memories from this time.
Of course, all of our individual experiences will vary depending upon circumstances, but for most of us, this period can be summed up in a single word: happiness. We faced the world head on, without worry, because we knew that our fundamental needs would be met. The world could be swirling and storming around us, but this feeling of careless contentment persisted because we trusted the people in authority.
For most of us, putting our trust in others used to be a lot easier. As kids, we placed our lives into the hands of people we believed could never harm us. Parents, relatives, teachers—we followed their every instruction. The world hadn’t hurt us, so we lived harder. We took more risks, loved easier, and trusted faster.
But as we got older, life became a lot more complicated. Friends betrayed us, parents misled us, and teachers didn’t always have our best interests at heart. Our ability to trust was chipped away at little by little. Now, trust is something we parcel out hesitantly; like wading into cold water, we move slowly, waiting to acclimate before taking another step.
- How many people do you really trust? (Chances are this number is far fewer than what it would have been had you been asked the same question as a child. And for most of us, it’s only a handful. Ask a few volunteers to share who they trust and why.)
- When was the last time someone broke your trust? Without using names, and in general terms, tell us about it. (Answers will vary, but it’s likely that a few students have had this happen recently. Your students may be hesitant to share, so be prepared to share your own experience to get the conversation started. Moderate the conversation to be sure that no one shares too much information—answers should be general and leave out names and details such as: “A friend told others a secret when he/she promised not too.”)
Trusting others can be scary because we don’t know the outcome. It may help us get closer to other people, or we may get hurt in the process. We may fear that trusting others will end like this clip:
Play the following video:
Wrong way! Pair’s trust fall fails spectacularly when girl topples FORWARDS into a stream [0:27 seconds; stop at 0:18]:
Allow your students to discuss and react to this video. Although this clip is entertaining to watch, it also speaks to the fear of trusting other people.
- Do you ever wonder whether it’s worth trusting anyone at all? What do you think it will take to get you to trust again? (The pain of a betrayal is so great that it can lead us to think that it isn’t worth putting ourselves out there again.)
The question becomes then: Who or what can we hold onto? Today, we’ll learn about the one Person who we can always hold onto even when life gets tough. Let’s take a look.