Trust: A Conversation with my oldest son, Max

After church last weekend, I asked my oldest, “What did you talk about at church today?”

He’s 11 … so I want to have the appropriate expectations for his response.

More importantly, he’s a human, so I don’t want church to become a meaningless ritual. My goal: I want our conversations to be as natural as possible. The last thing I want is for him to learn how to regurgitate all the right Christian answers because I’m forcing questions down his throat.

He was quiet for a moment … about to give up and say “I don’t remember.” And then, in the last instant he says triumphantly, “TRUST! We talked about trust!”

It was my turn to be quiet, and then I ask, “Awesome. So what is the definition of trust?”

It was the right question, even though I didn’t have an answer—I didn’t have a definition, I had examples of trust, but not the essence of it. However…

I’m fine with this. I don’t need to look like I have all the answers—I’d rather have as many answers as possible and be honest about my ignorance rather than working hard to keep up the appearance that I Know Everything.

I don’t only ask a question if I have the answer…if Max didn’t have anything I was ready to say, “I’m not sure either… lemme do some thinking and I’ll get back to you.”

Max responded, “I don’t remember, all I remember is that we talked about trust…”

In that moment I came up with an answer… or, as I choose to view it, God gave me an answer. If he gives us words before our persecutors, then surely he gives us words when we stand before our children.

So I say, “Trust means giving away control. Anytime you trust something, you are letting it have control over some area of your life.”

He was wearing his favorite shirt, so I continue, “What are you trusting that shirt to do? Why do you wear it?”

“I’m trusting it to keep me warm. And it would be weird for me to be at school without a shirt.” Giggles ensue, as he pictures himself walking around school without a shirt…

“What do you trust your Football coach with?”


So I said, “You trust him with your time … and you trust him to teach you football … and to make your team into a good team… And you trust that it will be fun. Does this make sense?”


It comes our quiet, slow. It was the cadence of new understanding, new possibilities, new connections…

“So when it comes to God, why is trust important? Why would they talk about trust at church?”

“I’m not sure.”

The moment was over. So I said the only possible response. “That’s ok. At least we know what trust is. What is trust?”

“When you give something control.”

“Awesome, how many times did you fart in church today….?”


2 thoughts on “Trust: A Conversation with my oldest son, Max”

  1. I love this … I can already tell when I have kids I’m going to want to spoon feed them correctly answers (even when I’m not sure I know or believe the answers I’m spoon-feeding). What you did here was give Max enough to get started, trusting (see what I did there) Jesus would take it from there.

    That’s good parenting.

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