by Katy on June 15, 2009 · 15 comments


I’ve recently become a great fan of trust. And once I started to think about it, I realized that trust permeates almost all aspects of my life.

Mother, nurse, wife, daughter, friend, citizen and neighbor.

My sons and I were attending the library volunteer orientation last week when Jane, the youth librarian was asked this question:

“What do we do if someone is trying to trick us into getting extra prizes?”

Her answer blew me away.

“The entire library system is built on trust. We give away our books and we have to trust that people will bring them back. Sure, some people are going to try and take advantage of that trust, but that doesn’t mean we stop being trustful.”

When I go to work as a labor and delivery nurse, my patients have to trust that I will make safe decisions and that I know what I’m doing. When I welcome my kids’ friends over to the house, their parents have to trust that my home is a safe environment. When my husband and I talk, we have to trust that there is honesty and good will. When a neighbor borrows our wheelbarrow, I have to trust that they will treat it well and return it promptly. And as a member of The Compact, (buy nothing new) I have to trust that I can find second hand goods for my family.

Does this mean that I should disregard my instincts and trust any and all?

Absolutely not. I always lock my front door and am consider myself to be pretty street smart. (I am after all, a city girl.) I am also extremely cautious about the homes my kids are allowed to go to.

Portland, Oregon has experienced a high number of horrific crimes in the past month which have shocked and saddened our city. One of these crimes involved craigslist, which I have utilized to great success through the years. I have bought and sold dozens of items through craigslist and have only once had the transaction seem less than ideal. (Did I buy a stolen microwave? I really hope not.)

My husband is a Paramedic, and sees the sordid underbelly of our great city. He asked that I no longer sell on craigslist unless he’s at home when the buyer comes over. I think he was all set for me to debate his request, but I agreed that this would indeed be a smart policy.

I don’t want to have strangers come over to the house when I’m the only adult at home. That’s not so street smart.

Will I give up my trust in the inherent good in people just because of a few horrific incidents?

Again, absolutely not!

I will continue to trust that a library book will be returned, that my wheelbarrow is treated well, that my local Goodwills will provide everything my family could ever possibly need and that the person coming to look at our old bicycles is most likely worthy of my trust.

Do you feel you are becoming more or less trusting as you get older? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jinger June 16, 2009 at 5:17 am

I am now meeting craigslist buyers and sellers in a public place. In a different twist, my 2o year old met her best friend on craigslist a year ago and is amazed how much they have in common.

I believe in trust as well….just trusting with a smart eye.


Cyndi June 16, 2009 at 5:32 am

I feel like my Craigslist trust level has gone down lately. Not because of the crime — I’ve always met in random public places — but because of all the spam. I guess it makes sense, but it does make me sad.


fairydust June 16, 2009 at 5:41 am

I’ve never bought or sold on Craigslist, but I have used freecycle to get rid of some items, and I usually have people meet me in a nearby Wal Mart parking lot or even at my office. But not at home.


alison13 June 16, 2009 at 5:44 am

Katy, great post. Quality of life, which you and I love so much, is indeed built on trust. Standard of living, which is dollars-based, is not, and probably leads us in the opposite direction.

I’ve tended to be fairly trusting all my life, and my trust is usually borne out by how people behave toward me — I have positive experiences, including with strangers. I’m also realistic, though (related to street-smart) and I think I have good instincts about taking care of myself, and knowing what places and people to avoid. I agree with you on the importance of trust, and I love what the librarian said and what it elicited from you.


GLM June 16, 2009 at 8:12 am

“Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.”

Trust without common sense is useless, IMHO.


fairydust June 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

trust just bit me in the arse today – I trusted someone here at work to fix the problem she said she’d fix (it was her error in the first place). She didn’t and I took the blame. Guess I won’t make that mistake again… 😛


thedonofpages June 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Trust is a budget item. How much does your library spend to replace stolen DVD’s and books? How little does your library spend on security? Saying that most people are honest is playing down that some aren’t.


pam June 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm

now that I am really “crone age” I find that instead of becoming more cynical I have come to trust more and more in the human spirit and the ability of most folks – given support and encouragement – to chose to do the right thing. Yes, I have been burned – and maybe I am a cock-eyed optimist – but turning 60 has made me turn to the wisdom I didn’t know I had acquired – and learned from lots of other wise women.
This is my first post but I want to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I’ve struggled and enjoyed with simplicity and non-consumerist ideals for 40 years – still learning and still struggling ….and still celebrating!


BohoBelle June 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I’m a member of the Couchsurfing community where we let travellers stay in our home for free, and we give them a key to the house too. I’m always asked, ‘but aren’t you worried they’ll steal something’.

I always answer: 99.9% of people are good and I’m not going to let point one percent of fear stop me from doing something good in the community.

Yes they could be a serial killer, but some young broke person travelling through our regional town probably isn’t. And if the biggest risk is one day losing some jewellery or the TV, well I can handle that.


cary June 17, 2009 at 8:22 am

Love your post. Just this week I posted, “Turn the other cheek” as my facebook status. Sometimes we get burned, but it’s so much easier to sleep being a good person than a weasel.


niki June 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Great post. This is my first visit to your blog and I am lovin’ it!

As a Christian I am finding myself trusting more and more as I mature.



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