2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.
Everyone likes to be trusted. As Alma begins to speak with his son, Shiblon, he expresses confidence in him based on his track record, and he shares his expectation and hope that his son will continue to follow the commandments of God.
Alma doesn’t give praise indiscriminately. In the following chapter, he chastises another of his sons, Corianton, and urges him to repent of his sins. (See Alma 39:1-5.) Still, I think it’s significant that he praises Shiblon for his positive attributes (steadiness and faithfulness) but rebukes Corianton for specific negative actions (boasting, negligence, and sexual sin). He does not ascribe Corianton’s sins to fundamental deficiencies of character. Instead, he expresses confidence in both of his sons. He tells Shiblon, “I trust that I shall have great joy in you.” And he takes the time to explain several doctrinal questions to Corianton, expressing a hope that those explanations will help Corianton to choose more wisely in the future. (See Alma 42:29-31.)
Today I will trust my children and the other people I lead. I will praise their positive attributes and express confidence in their ability to continue to make good decisions. If they choose poorly, I will correct their mistakes and teach them principles which will help them to make better decisions in the future. Either way, I will have confidence in them and in their ability to accomplish great things.