The Innocence of Trust

My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is Newborn Babies.

“How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives”

I held a newborn baby earlier this week. Well, actually she was two weeks old, but still technically “newborn.” It was the third newborn baby I’ve held in as many months — all of them sweet little girls, too. When holding these tiniest and most fragile of creatures I am, of course, taken back to holding my own newborn babies. I can’t help but comment to the moms and families on how small their babies are compared to my own — both of my boys were nine-pounders — and dote on their tiny little hands and feet and coos and squirms.

To a newborn everything is so new. Feeling human touch is new. Hearing sounds is new. Seeing colors and contrast of dark and light is new. They’re a foreigner in a strange land, and it’s amazing to watch them soak it all in. The little baby earlier this week was mesmerized by sights and sound — the sight of a new face, the sound of new voice. It’s just amazing to see a brand new life learning about this new world they are unexpectedly thrust into.

One of the things that stands out most about my experience with my newborns is trust — the amazing amount of trust my babies had for me as the person caring for them.

Is trust something we are born with or something we learn?

I think it is something that in good situations is quickly demonstrated and therefore learned. When babies have a need — a need that they may not even understand or recognize as a “need” — they cry and the caregiver responds by taking care of the need. When a new baby cries they don’t even know why they’re crying; they don’t know if they’re crying because they’re hungry or is it because they’re tired or because their diaper is wet (often the mom doesn’t know right away either) — they just know something’s not right and they cry. When that need is met promptly and completely, the baby learns to trust.

After a few times of that a routine is established — the baby lets his or her need be known and the mom or dad or nana takes care of it. The baby can now trust that when they cry, whatever issue they are having will be taken care of.

Different kinds of trust are taught to children throughout the infant stage, the toddler years, childhood, teenage years and adulthood. Infants and toddlers trust their parents to not put them in harm’s way, to keep them safe, to meet their needs. As children grow and mature they trust parents and other people in their life to have their best interests in mind, to be honest with them, to not steer them wrong, to be right. Along the way, of course, people will break that trust and trust will look different after that. I kinda picture one’s ability to trust as being shaped and molded throughout life with both good experiences and bad ones. No time in life though will you experience a more innocent trust than the trust of a new baby because they’ve not yet been tainted by life, they’ve not yet been let down by someone, and because they don’t know anything else but “trust.”


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