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Trust in yourself to get through deep water

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Marking a milestone: First steps for our columnist’s grandchild (Photo courtesy of Glenn Fubler)

Last week, during a late afternoon swim, I was surprised at seeing a thirtysomething woman swim out into the deep water, towards the reef line, by herself.

The weather was not ideal (although not rough) on that day and, in fact, I was the only other person swimming at that beach at the time.

As I was leaving the area, some ten minutes later, I noticed, with some concern, that she was almost halfway to the reefs.

I remained anxious for a while. However, it struck me that the woman was obviously comfortable that she had prepared herself, by building her swimming capacity. She demonstrated trust in herself, even in deep water.

Our grandchild walked for the first time a few weeks ago. Research scientists contend that this milestone, along with learning to talk, are the two most challenging tasks for the human family.

Babies move through that deep water due to the trust that they have in themselves.

Rudolph Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, in his book Super Brain, documents that extraordinary ability of babies to affect their early development, based on trust both in themselves and their family. However, much of this can be lost by young children due to the circumstances they face.

I had a recent conversation with the parents of a young man — let’s call him Bill — who had formerly been involved in the Island’s gang culture, but who has recently successfully completed his first year of university.

Initially, Bill had been performing well in both school and sporting activities over the years, but he went through a stage of not having trust in himself, and became involved in gang-related activity.

After a few years in that deep water, with the support of family and mentors, Bill began to trust himself again and took the long walk back to his freedom.

Last September, Bill went off to college. After his freshman success in a variety of areas, he has just been offered a full scholarship by another college.

This will provide funding for him to complete his undergraduate programme, thus assisting Bill in his renewed trust in himself through new deep water towards his goal of a medical-related career.

On Saturday, about 150 of us enjoyed a concert produced by Taylor Rankin, the local violinist. Taylor has demonstrated trust in himself and has been travelling through deep water in various parts of the world, expanding his musical career.

He returned and offered five concerts, which included various local artists, at different venues, with Saturday’s benefiting Chewstick. Taylor’s trust in himself led him to give back — in trust — to his community.

Chewstick has experienced deep water. When its lease was not renewed at its former venue, it had difficulty securing an alternative. With a sense of trust, it was eventually able to lease another one, which requires renovations.

Taylor’s Saturday show was scheduled for the new space. However, facing the reality that facilities were not adequate, Chewstick secured a temporary, outside “oasis” in the middle of Hamilton to accommodate the many patrons.

This is another demonstration by Gavin [Smith, executive director] and the team regarding the power of trust.

I was blessed by my circumstances, notwithstanding challenges faced. At 14, I landscaped my neighbours’ yards around North Village as a summer vacation hustle; with sufficient trust in myself to earn enough money to purchase my family’s first power mower.

Further trust fuelled my passion to act in solidarity with South Africa when I was thirtysomething, at a time when not many understood that cause. However, like that swimmer, a few of us moved out into deep water. Eventually, a growing global sense of trust brought successful transformation to South Africa.

Bermuda has been experiencing deep water over the past number of years.

These stories, like that of Bill, remind each of us to trust ourselves in these challenging times and to work to expand our capacity.

I’m sure if you reflect on your own story and that of your family, you will recognise examples of the role of trust in the past.

If we trust ourselves and each other, while developing our individual capacity, we will strengthen our community, transforming our Island.

• Glenn Fubler is co-founder of community group Imagine Bermuda

Glenn Fubler, of Imagine Bermuda (File photo by Akil Simmons)