A Matter of Trust


Henrylito D. Tacio

Mr. Tacio, who hails from Davao, is a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. He is the first and only Filipino journalist to have been elevated to the Hall of Fame in science reporting by the Philippine Press Institute. In 1999, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed him the Journalist of the Year award. He is also East Asia’s contributing editor of the People & the Planet based in London.

For comments, henrytacio@gmail.com

A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge. The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter: “Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.”

The little girl said: “No, Dad. You hold my hand.” The puzzled father asked, “What’s the difference?”

“There’s a big difference,” replied the little girl. “If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.”

That’s what trust is all about. The dictionary defines trust as “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.” It also refers to “a person on whom or thing on which one relies.” Trust may also mean “the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.”

Some people see trust in a different manner. Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Tony Oposa, Jr. likens trust to a beautiful glass. “Used well,” he said, “it will quench the thirst of life. If broken, it cannot be put back.”

Award-winning independent film-maker Kidlat Tahimik refers trust to “a state of mind” or “a state of the heart” that relaxes his soul. “If I can trust that my fellow beings can respect me as their fellow being, I don’t have to carefully scrutinize or weight their actions.”

When asked what life has taught him about trust, Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim replied: “Trust is like a piece of white paper –a small dot on it can create problems. People tend to ignore the vastness of white and train their sight on the small black dot. Life is never fair and that is what makes it challenging and worth living.”

Academy Award winner Barbra Streisand has a different view. “A human being is only interesting if he’s in contact with himself. I learned you have to trust yourself, be what you are, and do what you ought to do the way you should do it. You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.”

In her book, “The Exploits and Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy,” author Elizabeth Aston wrote: “Anyone who goes through life trusting people without making sure they are worthy of trust is a fool. Yet there are people who may be trusted, men as well as women. There are as many differences in their natures as there are flowers in these meadows.”

Not all of us are born leaders. If you happen to be a leader, you can either be good or bad. Stephen M.R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust,” said that the first job of any leader is to inspire trust. But how?

In his book, Covey identified 13 common behaviors of trusted leaders around the world that build, and maintain, trust. These behaviors act as deposits into a “trust account,” as he calls it, with another party and always need to be balanced by the other. “If one is used in the extreme, it can become a weakness,” he warned.

The thirteen traits of trusted leaders:
• Talk straight
• Demonstrate respect
• Create transparency
• Right wrongs
• Show loyalty
• Deliver results
• Get better
• Confront reality
• Clarify expectations
• Practice accountability
• Listen first
• Keep commitments
• Extend trust

“The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust,” said Henry L. Stimson.

The statement above came to my mind after reading an anecdote written by Robert Schuller. It goes this way:

One day, he boarded a plane and sat next to a man who was chuckling to himself. “What’s so funny,” he asked. “Well, the craziest thing just happened,” he replied and then pointed across the aisle to where blind entertainer Ray Charles was seated with his seeing –eye dog.

The man further said, “At our last stop, the captain came out and asked Ray Charles if there was anything he needed. Mr. Charles said, ‘As a matter of fact, yes. Would you mind taking my dog out for a walk?’”

“The captain agreed and took hold of the leather handle and led the dog outside. As the passengers waited nearby to board the plane, they could see the captain walking the seeing-eye dog. Just as they watched the captain, led by the dog, head up the steps to board the plane, the flight attendant announced that passengers could now board the plane.

“When the gate opened, however, nobody dared to get aboard – not after seeing the captain led by a seeing-eye dog. Finally, the captain himself came out and explained, ‘It’s all right. I have my sight.’ Only then did everyone get on the flight.”

To end this piece, allow me to quote the words of Frank Crane: “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.”

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