Monday, August 15, 2011

Tolerance

Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.” Robert Green Ingersoll

Some of us learn about tolerance from our parents, school or friends. Some never learn about tolerance.

From birth through 15 yrs old, I lived in a town of 100, then moved to a town of 16,000.  During those times, I was not exposed to people from different cultures and races.  We moved to a large urban area when I was 16.  There I learned about tolerance from one particular class in High School called Seeing Yourself and Others.  My college (University of MN) was one of the largest schools in the country where diversity was quite evident but that class in HS was the most important.  It taught us to shed our preconceived notions about people and see them for what they are.  I wish everyone could take that class once a year. 

For me tolerance and learning to read are similar. Without knowing how to read, I wouldn’t be as free to learn and appreciate the world openly. Without tolerance, I wouldn’t understand how to accept and love. 

Who taught you to be tolerant of others? 

11 comments:

  1. Tolerance is severely understated and too hard to find these days. I believe I learned tolerance through having several groups of friends. Living in a primarily (and I'm talking like 72%) Christian community made diversity scarce but I'm grateful to have learned to love early on.

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  2. I agree...we should just see people for who they are!

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  3. I might have a slightly different take on this, as the word "tolerance" has come with different connotations now. To me, you're talking about "respect," showing honor to all human beings, no matter regardless of appearance, education, or beliefs.

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  4. I like your comparison between reading and tolerance. Both are skills too, and just as with any skill, the more you practice, the better at it you get :-)

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  5. I think we forget sometimes that tolerance takes practice. And you can't practice tolerance unless you allow yourself to be around the very things you need to learn to tolerate. It has to be intentional.

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  6. Growing up in the south, you have no idea how rare it is to grow up in the type of home I did. My parents raised me to be very open minded. However, as I have gotten older, I see that I am an even more open than they are! I try to surround myself with like-minded people.

    That class you took sounds like something that should be required around the world!

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  7. I agree. My parents taught me tolerance, and probably my elementary school teachers. I live in a very affluent, but also very diverse town. I was able to meet, interact, and learn about all different cultures, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized that there is such thing as "classism" or "racism."

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  9. Seeing and respecting people for who they are is definitely a skill that needs to be taught seriously. Perhaps it should be a pre-requisite for college.

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  10. I think I learned tolerance throughout life's experiences and lessons. I don't know if I was "taught" it at one moment or the other, but I think I learned it over time and still struggle with it from time to time.

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  11. I would say I learned the greatest lessons about tolerance through church and what the bible has to say about loving others as you love yourself. Of course, the parents reinforced this.

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