In the light of a pending Federal election it is no surprise that a recent survey rated politicians as “the least trusted profession in Australia”, with even sex workers rating better than them! Who do you think were the top three? Firefighters, paramedics and rescue volunteers, with Armed Forces personnel coming in at 12th place and clergy at a disappointing 38th place! Which professions do you trust?
The same survey then took it one step further and asked respondents to name the most trusted individuals. The top three were: Dr Charlie Teo, brain cancer surgeon, Professor Fiona Wood, burns specialist, and Professor Ian Frazer, immunologist who developed a vaccine against human papilloma virus. Who would you have chosen? It did make me feel better to see that even though the clergy ratings were poor, Father Chris Riley (for his work with homeless youth) ranked 4th and my Baptist colleague Rev Tim Costello (CEO World Vision Australia) got 14th! The only military member on the list was David Hurley (Chief Defence force) who came in at 22nd. The best of the politicians was Kevin Rudd who came in at position 70, with Tony Abbott at 75!
However, what really surprised me was the number of actors, performers, TV commentators and sports personalities who were in the list with people like Harry Cooper (TV vet) at 9th, Hugh Jackman (actor) at 10th, Ita Buttrose (magazine editor) at 12th and Libby Trickett (swimmer) at 18th, to name just a few. Why would we trust people like that? How have they earned our trust?
The article goes on to say that “Trust is a completely irrational concept, more an act of faith than a fact of nature. Trust is taking a punt on someone or something, on the idea that we can reliably predict what will happen in the future.” In other words we are accepting the fact (or at least hoping) that they mean what they say and that they will do what they say, which within a military setting can mean the difference between life and death! That is why trustworthiness and integrity are so integral to our military values, and why alleged breaches of trust must be fully investigated and decisively acted on. In fact, the Good Book puts it like this:
If you’re honest in small things,
You’ll be honest in big things;
If you’re a crook in small things,
You’ll be a crook in big things.
If you’re not honest in small jobs,
Who will put you in charge of the store?”
(Luke 16:10-12, The Message)
So, can you be trusted? Would your partner, peers, supervisors or subordinates rank you high or low on the list? What are you going to do about it?
Chaplain Ian S Whitley