Building Relational Trust with Two Rules

Trust is a deeply emotional state, influencing every interaction and decision we make. When we think about building relational trust, especially in a school setting, we need to consider both character and competence. Trust is not just about liking someone; it’s about believing in their integrity and their ability to deliver on their promises.

What Leads Us to Trust Others?

We trust others when we see consistency between their words and actions. Integrity is about being honest and transparent. When someone’s agenda is clear and their actions align with their words, we feel safe and valued. For instance, if a colleague says they prioritize student well-being and consistently takes steps to support that, we trust their character.

Competence is the other side of the trust coin. We rely on people who demonstrate they have the skills and knowledge needed in their roles. For example, I might appreciate a colleague as a friend and trust them personally, but if I doubt their professional skills, like their ability to teach effectively, my trust in them as an educator wanes. Competence assures us that our colleagues can meet the demands of their roles, fostering a reliable and supportive environment.

What Leads Others to Trust Us?

Just as we seek integrity and competence in others, we must embody these qualities ourselves. Being upfront about our intentions and consistently following through on our commitments builds trust. Additionally, showcasing our skills and continually improving our expertise reassures our colleagues of our competence.

Understanding Distrust

Distrust arises from suspicions about a person’s integrity or capabilities. In many schools, I’ve observed how distrust can poison adult relationships, leading to dysfunction. When we suspect a colleague might have hidden agendas or question their abilities, it creates barriers to effective collaboration and growth.

The Importance of Relational Trust

Researchers Bryk and Schneider, share their concept of relational trust that highlights trust isn’t just an individual matter but is built through interpersonal social exchanges. In schools, student learning is significantly impacted by the relational trust among adults. For trust to flourish, each adult in the school must understand their own responsibilities and have clarity on what others do. Trust grows when we know what to expect from one another and can rely on each other to fulfill our roles.

To foster trust within your school community, embrace these Two Rules:

  1. Feel Good: Ensure everyone feels valued and respected by maintaining integrity and showing genuine care.
  2. Feel Safe: Build a culture of competence where everyone’s skills are recognized, and professional growth is supported.

By focusing on these principles, we can create an environment where trust thrives, leading to a more cohesive and effective educational community. When we invest time in understanding and nurturing this emotional state, we pave the way for a more harmonious and productive school culture.

"The beauty of spring is seen in the new growth. As parents, we watch the growth of our children as their roots provide a solid foundation on which they stand to stretch out to touch the unimagined as they flower into what we always knew they could."~Brenda Yoho

One of two trees planted at my home as a reminder of my parents and their support. It is also a reminder of my other family members who have passed on who played a significant part in my life. We planted one of these trees for my mother as a gift for her birthday right before my wedding. I can remember looking out at it before heading to the church. I would be leaving home for the first time at the age of 19 to travel to the state of New York to begin the life as a Navy wife.

Lead with Two Rules

Growing up, I observed a lot and developed a love for reading. Education posed a challenge for me, as I lacked additional support systems at home and we did not have access to modern learning tools like we have today. While my parents gifted me a set of encyclopedias that I cherished, I sometimes struggled with the content.

Having a supportive environment is crucial for a child's success. Fortunately, I had a loving support system that provided encouragement and all the resources I needed to thrive. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Cole Chiappialle, the author of "LEGACY, your story has purpose." Reading his book allowed me to reflect on my own journey. Cole had a community of support systems, school was a positive source for him and a loving father.

Cole’s name may sound familiar to you if you are a sports fan and especially football. He was a running back at Penn State. I am not a big sports fan, but have found myself surrounded by a group of former football players. I may finally get myself back into shape! This group is great! My grandson’s love sports but they are big hockey fans. However, my son-in-law played football.

Cole's upbringing, marked by his mother's struggles, resonated with me. His book doesn't just provide details but prompts reflection, empathy, and an understanding that our responses to challenges define us more than the situations themselves. "LEGACY" is a testament to the power of Lead with Two Rules—a philosophy that empowers youth to make choices, ask questions, build positive habits, and realize they are not mere victims but resilient over-comers.

Life presents numerous challenges, and "LEGACY" teaches us that we can all make a difference in our lives by embracing the principles of Lead with Two Rules. Cole dedicates his life to carrying on the LEGACY his dad provided him of love, sacrifice, dedication and support. He will continue to pass this on so this LEAGACY will continue. “What matters are the choices you make today, the choices that will affect those behind you for years to come.” - Cole Chiappialle

Cole's book is deeply rooted in the loss of his father and the profound impact of his father's dedication to improving his life. The pain of losing loved ones is something familiar to those who have experienced such loss. In my own life, I have faced multiple traumatic losses. I was by the bedside of both my parents, caring for them in their final stages. Cancer, in particular, has been a devastating experience. When I was diagnosed, I made the choice to shield my grandchildren from this news.

After completing my treatments (4-25-22), I am grateful to be two years cancer-free. However, the specter of cancer remains a constant presence in my thoughts. It's a reminder that once cancer enters your life, its impact never truly fades away.

Pick up a copy of Cole’s book, LEGACY, Your story has Purpose at If you do not have a copy of my book yet, please grab a copy

Lead with Two Rules imparts the essential skills required to tackle the multitude of challenges we encounter in life's journey. Just as Cole's experiences illustrate, possessing these skills can be the determining factor between success and failure. Our choices not only shape our own lives but also influence those around us profoundly. When the realms of home, school, and community align their efforts, remarkable transformations can occur.

By delving into Cole's narrative, you'll witness firsthand how these dynamics play out in his life. Consider how your own story reflects the impact of home, school, and community on your journey. Can we strive for improvement? Absolutely! Society reflects the pressing need for these enhancements, and together, we can make a difference. Cole’s father made an impact that changed his life and now many generations to come.

Two Rules builds resilience with the support of Trusted Adults

In the bustling halls of any school, amidst the whirlwind of lessons, assignments, and extracurricular activities, there exists a quiet yet profound force: the presence of a trusted adult. These individuals, whether they be teachers, counselors, bus drivers, and many others, play an indispensable role in shaping the educational journey of students. Within a framework like Two Rules, this bond between students and trusted adults becomes even more potent, catalyzing positive change and fostering a nurturing environment where growth thrives.

Two Rules, as a concept, encapsulates a philosophy of simplicity with profound implications. At its core, it emphasizes fairness and trust as fundamental pillars of the educational ecosystem. When implemented with dedication and sincerity, it transforms the entire school culture into a beacon of support and understanding.

Principals and teachers, as the stewards of this philosophy, serve as living embodiments of its principles. Through their actions and interactions, they model the values of fairness and trust, setting the stage for a culture where every individual feels valued and respected. Feeling Good and Feeling Safe is established at the very first moment. This modeling process permeates through all aspects of school life, from classroom dynamics to disciplinary procedures, fostering an environment where everyone feels empowered to succeed.

Central to the success of Two Rules is the cultivation of resiliency among students. By nurturing this essential skill, schools instill a sense of hope and self-assurance within their student body. Students, recognizing the genuine care and support extended to them, feel emboldened to confront challenges head-on. They understand that within the school community, there exists a network of trusted adults who are eager to lend an empathetic ear and provide guidance whenever needed. A strong support of the Two Rules.

Moreover, the presence of trusted adults serves as a beacon of inspiration for students. Knowing that there are individuals within the school whom they can admire and seek guidance from instills a sense of belonging and purpose. These role models not only offer practical assistance but also serve as living examples of the values espoused by Two Rules, reinforcing its significance in the minds of students. When we look at the chart on page 73 of the book, resiliency resources needed are clearly present in the implementation of Two Rules.

Crucially, Two Rules empowers students by emphasizing the importance of their education. By providing resources and support tailored to individual needs, it communicates a clear message: your learning journey matters, and we are here to help you succeed. This acknowledgment of the intrinsic worth of each student's education cultivates a sense of ownership and responsibility, further fueling their motivation to excel. All staff work with students to ask them about their educational journey. Coaches within our school, make education a priority in their programs of extra-curriculum activities.

In conclusion, the implementation of Two Rules in schools heralds a paradigm shift in educational practices, placing trust, fairness, and support at the forefront. Through the establishment of a culture where every individual feels valued and empowered, it lays the groundwork for transformative growth and success. At its heart lies the bond between students and trusted adults, a relationship inspired with understanding, encouragement, and unwavering support. As we continue to embrace the principles of Two Rules, we pave the way for a future where every student can thrive, knowing that they have a trusted adult by their side, ready to guide them on their journey of discovery and growth.

Join us in contributing to the solution for your classroom, your school, and your school district. Extend an invitation to families and the community to participate in incorporating Two Rules into all areas. Together, we can!!

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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