Trust, But Verify

When Gorbachev and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Reagan used one of his most loved slogans:

The President: […] We have listened to the wisdom in an old Russian maxim. And I’m sure you’re familiar with it, Mr. General Secretary, though my pronunciation may give you difficulty. The maxim is: Dovorey no provorey – trust, but verify.

The General Secretary: You repeat that at every meeting. [Laughter]

The President: I like it. [Laughter] (Source)

It was in that spirit that I approached an administrator to verify a student’s explanation of her absence.

“No she did not come talk to me” came the reply, and my own words to the students, from the beginning of the year, echoed: “You have my trust now. Once it’s gone, it will take a long time to rebuild it.” This young lady, sadly, has lost my trust.

I’m not sure she’ll care. I can see her brushing it off as if it’s no big deal, and it might very well not be a big deal. Someone who hasn’t spent much time in an environment that fosters trust might not know what it’s worth, and in that case, it’s difficult not to try to care for her.


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