Forgot Rocks Daddy — Trust Lessons from a 4-Year Old

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It was unlike any other morning — Daddy (I) was home and so was Mommy. I was going to be dropping off my 4-year old at the daycare. It also meant we slept in a bit more than usual and still ended-up scrambling to drop my fella at the daycare just-in-time for his Circle time.

“We forgot rocks daddy” — whispered my 4-year old. I said “What?” trying to understand what he was saying amidst the din. “Rocks, Rocks — we forgot”. I just looked up all the kids huddling around a circular table and placing the rocks on them.

The fact that Mommy and Daddy were home meant the my 4-year old was already not feeling too good about why he was at school. This just added to it. A tad moist in his eyes along with despair, he wasn’t sure who was going to resurrect his day. In his head, he started visualizing being a bystander to his friends’ activities, explaining everything about the rock, unable to paint the rock, and then bring it home to surprise Mommy and Daddy.

Well Daddy was simply feeling terrible at missing out on the note from the Teacher. “I will be back with the rocks” — I told him and jetted out the door. He wasn’t confident that would happen because for him finding rocks is akin to climbing rocks. Of course, the newly and clearly landscaped gardens, concrete roads don’t allow for easy sighting of a rock. I drove to a construction site which was yet to open and as I was contemplating next steps, I sighted it. In all its abandoned glory lay two rocks dry on one end, dirt and moist on the other end. I quickly wiped it and drove back to the school. I picked 2 of them (just-in-case).

My boy had a glow in his face. “Did you bring this? Where did you find it?”. The glee was a moment of someone literally resurrecting his day. A kiss on the cheek and a spring in his feet meant Daddy walked away with expressions etched in his eyes. Later in the evening, he told me that he even shared the second rock with his another friend at school.

I didn’t make too much of it until much later when I couldn’t forget the stark contrast in his expressions. Although, I know this will be shrugged off when he grows to be a teen, I felt like it was a trust building and a teaching moment on many fronts.

  1. He used the words “we forgot”. The word “we” meant he was taking accountability for forgetting it. Dad was just feeling bad
  2. The feeling of despair and feeling of being left behind, and unable to being correct it himself meant he was just needing help. Just not sure whom to trust?
  3. Venturing to find the rock was my accountability moment. I let down my 4-year old.
  4. My finding the rock, quickly handing it off to him was all about my actions to course correct the situation
  5. His ability to then complete the day and then also help a friend was our moment of achievement (may be over achievement).
  6. Our focus on finding a rock, telling a story around it, and painting it, for the day was our positive Accomplishment (outcome).
  7. That exact moment of me handing him the rock was a “Trust Building Moment — having his back“.

How many of you have been in situations when “We” turned into “He/I” — Accountabilities became Finger Pointing, the helper/supporter relationship quickly soured and the eyes got off the outcome and the trust building moment soon became a back-stabbing moment. The one significant thing that separated the entire episode was the actions!

So what is a trust building moment? One of the very easy definition could be — It is Accountabilities, Actions, and Achievements that allow an individual or a group to Accomplish a positive Outcome. The next trust building moment — simply break down your situations into the outcome you are seeking to get to and the 4 As that will help you get there!

Credits: Image sourced under creative commons. Click here for the actual source

Originally published at on October 24, 2016.

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