the parent’s little list of trust*

October 25th, 2007

*Not so little. Not just parents.

Trust accidents and coincidences; trust imperfection and the unforeseen.
Trust the milk to spill.
Trust confusion as the child of clarity; trust doubt as the mother of confidence.
Trust fevers, trust coughs, trust tummy aches.
Trust the body at all times.
Do not trust children’s cold medications.
Trust family. Trust friends. Trust strangers to become friends.
Trust old wives. Trust whatever you find when you find it.
Trust forgiveness. Trust forgetfulness. Trust remembrance to return when it serves you.
Trust the day and the night, like the sun and the moon, to appear right on schedule.
Trust time.
Trust change. And the change after that.
Trust not knowing.
Trust that when you can’t handle it for one more minute, you can handle it for one more minute.
Trust your strength. Trust your flexibility.
Trust in every outcome. To trust only in a certain kind of outcome is not trust, but fear.
Trust that children always say what they mean.
Trust that even when they don’t get what they want, children always get what they need.
Trust your life as it unfolds.
Trust your teacher, and that everything everywhere is your teacher.
Trust your child.
Trust yourself.
And trust again.


  1. Yes! I’m printing this puppy out and putting it in a prominent place. I have been in great need of encouragement to trust…everything. Thank you so much.

    Comment by Leah — October 25, 2007 @ 3:39 am

  2. I never tire of saying thank you to you Karen, because you give me so much.

    Comment by Tracy — October 25, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  3. This one’s going straight to the printer!

    Comment by Mama Zen — October 25, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  4. karen,

    thank you for this. i recently found your link through wendy (mother rising). you are completely inspirational. what an amazing reminder to trust in ourselves as mamas.

    now i just need to go out and find myself a copy of your beautiful book! xx

    Comment by The Whole Self — October 25, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  5. …and trust that karen will write the most wonderful post to inspire and encourage! thank you:-)

    Comment by Phyllis Sommer — October 25, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  6. I’m not a (human) Mother but I still love this list. So beautiful.

    This was my favorite line:

    “Trust in every outcome. To trust only in a certain kind of outcome is not trust, but fear.”


    Comment by Karen Beth — October 25, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

  7. Karen, this is really wonderful. I offer Three Trusts workshops for divorced parents: Trust Yourself as a parent; Trust the Other Parent to be a “good enough” parent; and Trust your Child. I would like to use your list (with full accreditation, of course) in the Trust Your Child section. Thank you so much for your good work!
    Ruth Rinehart
    Three Trusts, Inc.

    Comment by Ruth Rinehart — October 25, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  8. “Trust fevers, trust coughs, trust tummy aches”
    Are you in my house?

    You know, I feel like the black sheep here, but my first reaction is “why?” why should I trust these things? But if I really let go and feel what it would be like to trust these things, it’s an amazing feeling. I actually felt myself relax. If only for a moment.

    Comment by Shannon — October 25, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

  9. Shannon, you’ve answered your own question! When you live in trust in the world, the world is a MUCH more relaxing place … and your children gain so much for the benefits of your relaxing into trust.

    Most people think trust is something that “happens to them” or trust is “earned.” But I think trust is a decision, like forgiveness. And, like forgiveness, when you make the decision, your life becomes much easier.

    Comment by Ruth Rinehart — October 25, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  10. Nina, (The Whole Self) Wait a minute, I found YOU through Wendy! She is my guru. Satch is my mantra. There’s that annoying unbroken circle again.

    Shannon, “why” is a perfectly reasonable question. Also, it is the voice of fear. It is a very profound question that you have to penetrate. And unfortunately for those with quick minds, it doesn’t have an answer!

    You’re getting closer by the minute.

    Comment by Karen — October 25, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  11. Trust is a loaded word for me. Mostly because it seems to often be used to imply that one is trusting they will not be hurt, wounded, betrayed, that all will be okay meaning happy or as we want it.
    So most days, I don’t know if I really trust, at least by that definition.
    The trust you seem to express here, Karen, is actually the opposite of that notion of trust. Simply, trust that life will happen however it happens. Trust as in letting go of control.
    I guess the only real trust I have is trusting that moment by moment I’m doing the best I know how. Which changes constantly. So wait, that is something else I trust. that everything will always change.

    Comment by bella — October 25, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  12. I love the old Chinese farmer story: his trusted horse runs away. The neighbors wail, oh, how terrible, how will you plow your fields? the Chinese farmer says, who knows what’s good or bad?

    The mare comes back with a fine stallion. the neighbors rejoice, you’re practically wealthy, what a valuable horse! the Chinese farmer says, who knows what’s good or bad?

    The farmer’s son tries to ride the stallion, is bucked off, and suffers a terrible fall, many broken bones. The neighbors bemoan, oh, how will you do the work of the farm without your son’s help? the Chinese farmer says, who knows what’s good or bad?

    The next week, the Chinese army comes through, conscripting all healthy young men for the war. the neighbors say, oh, your son is hurt to bad to be conscripted, how good for you?

    the Chinese farmer says, who knows what’s good or bad?

    That’s how I think of trust. We can’t “know” what’s “good” or “bad,” but we can trust a higher unity of life, if you will, that it does all make sense, even if I can’t see it.

    Thich Naht Hahn says he has a practice of “am I sure?” He encourages us all to ask that question, and if we think we’re sure, ask again, “am I really sure?”

    Comment by Ruth Rinehart — October 25, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  13. Thank you. That’s all I can manage to muster out …

    Comment by Shawn — October 25, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  14. just what i needed. thank you.

    Comment by Wendy — October 25, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  15. Same here, exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

    Comment by lesleysmeshly — October 26, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

  16. This is a great list.

    As far as trusting fevers and not trusting cold medicine (loved that!), it’s not always easy when you have an inlaw who accuses you of neglecting your children for refusing to give it! Up to 104 and even 5, I’m fine. Other people? Not so much.

    Comment by MamaShift — February 27, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  17. glad this one is here. i needed to read it again today. thank you.

    Comment by latisha — December 17, 2008 @ 8:41 am

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