I wish more young people would ask it of themselves.
My target today is the younger pre-teen/teen reader who may be wondering why others don't find them to be particularly trustworthy, whether that be their parents (including step-dads like me), teachers, or friends.
For those of you old enough to remember, a film circa 1950 "Am I Trustworthy?" hearkened back to the good old 'Leave It to Beaver' days when family values such as respect, honesty and responsibility were held in high esteem.
And although you rarely, if ever saw it portrayed on TV, just behind those friendly, loving facades lurked the fear of 'what's-gonna-happen-now'.
All mom or dad had to do was give a 'look' and children instantly responded...
Ah, the good old days.
I remember them well.
Today, that same look from mom or dad is returned with an indifferent, "So, what are you going to do about it glare" from increasingly recalcitrant kids.
Exactly! What can today's parents do? As a relatively new step-dad, I struggle with this...
Oh, I had lots of answers for tough parenting situations back in 2005 BK (before kids).
Now I will readily admit that parenting is by far the single-most hardest job in the world.
At least for me, it's the most challenging thing I've ever taken on.
After a couple of days of going head-to-head with my pre-teen, I've come to the conclusion that the only things I can do are teach, guide, and communicate.
And when my child inevitably strays off the path, I have to be the beacon to lead her back.
I need to do this all without judgment.
Did I mention that parenting is the most challenging thing I've ever taken on? So part of my teaching, guiding and communicating is to find material like the old movie, "Am I Trustworthy" and share it with my girls, no matter how worn and dated it may be.
The message in "Am I Trustworthy?" is timeless and priceless.
I hope you'll find value enough to share it with your family, too.
There are only four main points covered in order to be trustworthy according to the video.
I'm sure today's parents can come up with hundreds more to keep pace with our rapidly advancing society.
However, when teaching I prefer to keep things simple, just like in the good old days.
Here are the four main points from "Am I Trustworthy?"
- Keep Your Word
- Play Fair
- Do A Good Job
- Be On Time
I believe most kids want to do this.
In my step-daughter's case, she is a pleaser and often says things she thinks her mom and I want to hear.
However, she doesn't realize the consequences of over-commitment.
Before you know it, she finds herself buried in promises she simply can't keep.
Parents have to keep an eye on their children's commitments, including homework and extra-curricular activities.
As a private music teacher for over 37 years, I've seen my share of parents who unwittingly over-commit their kids for various reasons such as 'enrichment', 'to keep them from getting lazy', or 'to get a school credit'.
Almost never does a parent enroll a child for lessons because 'the kid LOVES it.
' Very sad! With ever-increasing workloads and fierce competition to achieve at school, spare time is a very rare and sadly, more often non-existent commodity for today's children.
I can count on two fingers the number of times each month my girls get out to play freely (unstructured) with their friends.
Most of the time, I don't even need that many fingers.
There just isn't enough time! So my question to my step-daughter would be, "Tell mom and I, honestly - what can you handle, and what has to go, in order for you to have a well-rounded but balanced life?" Parents can go a long way in helping their children keep their word by planning schedules the kids can actually maintain.
To Be Trustworthy, You Must Play Fair With all credit to my step-daughter, 'Fair' is her middle name.
I would even go as far to say that she is fair to a fault.
For example, in competitive sports she thinks it's fair to let the other person win sometimes.
In cross-country, I've seen her run stride for stride with her friend right to the finish line and then let her friend cross first...
because it's fair! In fact, with her natural pleaser-personality, she is well-loved by all because she is so positive and supportive of others.
Is she trustworthy in this area? You bet.
I need to take better notes and apply her example to my own life.
The world of games and sports isn't the only area where kids play fair.
Cheating on tests and copying other's homework are areas where youngsters can become less trustworthy.
To Be Trustworthy, You Must Do A Good Job Doing a good job is one thing.
Being a perfectionist is quite another.
Perfectionism greatly effects your ability to keep your word and to be on time.
I know because this is an issue in our house.
My step-daughter does great work.
She is at the top of her class.
She attends gifted class once per week.
She is also my top-achiever as a private piano student.
However, perfectionism makes her take a five-minute task and turn it into a five-day marathon - no exaggeration here.
Other responsibilities and duties then get delayed or neglected entirely, and once again the family fireworks ignite.
Did I mention that parenting is the most challenging thing I've ever taken on? My advice to my step-daughter is, "Always do your best, but realize that perfection is NEVER attainable.
There will always be ways to improve anything you do.
Learn to recognize when the quality is good enough.
Then be able to walk away from it with satisfaction.
" To Be Trustworthy, You Must Be On Time This is the biggy in our home.
I'm a time-freak.
My life is very structured.
I thrive on a predictable, well-ordered routine.
All three of my ladies are the direct opposite.
They happily flit from flower to flower, totally oblivious to the time.
Sometimes we burn.
Correction; they don't - I do! I'm heating up, just thinking about it.
Did I mention that parenting is the most challenging thing I've ever taken on? So being on time is one of the biggest things you can do to become trustworthy.
Be where you said you are going to be, when you said you are going to be there.
It goes hand in hand with keeping your word.
I'll go one step further.
I tell my step-daughter, "It's OK to be early!" Time.
It's such a little thing.
So what's the big deal? Well sometimes, even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing.
We see this in sports all the time.
I see sports as a metaphor for life.
A fraction of a second...
Late is late, whether it's a fraction of a second or an hour.
Recently I missed an opportunity to purchase a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP for a ridiculously low one-time fee.
It was actually lower than the regular monthly fee this particular service charges.
This would have resulted in me saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the years I use this service.
All because I missed the deadline.
"I didn't read my email.
" "I didn't understand the magnitude of the offer.
" "I didn't"...
blah, blah, blah.
Excuses! Garbage! I WAS LATE! It cost me big-time to be late, and this is only one example.
That's the message I want to share with all my ladies, particularly my pre-teen step-daughter.
"BE ON TIME is one of the best ways, if not the best way, to become trustworthy.
It might save you a lot of money or embarrassment, too!" So there you have it folks.
I hope you parents (and step-parents) will share this article with your kids.
Remember, our job is to teach, guide and communicate...
As for you pre-teens and teens - thanks for reading this far.
And I can tell you with 100% certainty, if you follow the advice given in the video and this message, you will be able to say, "I AM TRUSTWORTHY!"