I work with people, and the most important thing I do is to sow seeds of trust between us. I talk about it in different ways with the people with whom I work: I am your ally. I am on your side. My whole job is to help you be successful at this thing. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Are you okay? You look to me like you are (tired, not feeling well, unhappy, angry, distracted). How can I help? What do you need to be successful at this? How can I support you?
I’ve learned to say these kinds of things with words and actions more consistently over the years to the teenagers who come into my classroom every day. The more consistently I can deliver the message that I am there to help, support and ensure their success, powerfully, magically they actually are more successful than if I don’t consistently sow seeds of trust. I am constantly trying to find better ways to do this. I find that I fail to sow seeds of trust at those places where I have not yet learned to trust myself and other people. So, I don’t do any of this work in isolation or of my own accord. I have been the benefactor of others who have trusted me, who have sown seeds of trust in our relationships enough for me to risk trying that myself.
I am convinced that we are all always sowing some kinds of seeds. We sow seeds based on the way we view power. If we think of power as something to use over others to get them to do what we want them to do because we do not trust them, we will sow seeds of fear, manipulation, punishment, reward, and coercion. If we think of power as something we share with others, we will sow seeds of trust, invitation, cooperation, the common good, and community. We may vacillate between the two models–such the journey of becoming more human.
With whom do you work today? What kinds of seeds will you sow?