As a mom, I canít tell you the
number of times Iíve heard
one of my kids tell me that
they didnít like something or
someoneódespite the fact that they
had never tried it or gotten to know the
person. Of course, I must confess that
I have also been guilty of doing the
same thing more than Iíd like to admit.
Honestly, we all are.
The fact that I am writing on this
topic for the month when we are marking
the fifth anniversary of the September
11 attacks has not escaped me.
Following those attacks, peopleís tolerance
for anything outside their comfort
zone or understanding seemed to
be at an all-time low.
Granted, tolerance is not easy. It
never has been. But that doesnít mean
we canít strive to do better. Only when
we learn to become more tolerant can
we move forward. Many changes
throughout history have taken place
because of people becoming more tolerant
Tolerance in Religion
Iím sure youíve heard the advice that
the two things you should never openly discuss are politics and religion.
And Iím sure weíve all experienced why
thatís true at one time or another. As a
writer for this magazine for the past
12 years, I know I have.
But sometimes people tend to
become very rigid in their beliefs and
opinions. Tolerance isnít even given a
chance. And sometimes civility goes
right out the door with it.
Thatís certainly not the example that
Jesus gave us. Letís be honestóJesus
hung out with some questionable characters
for his time. But just because he
was in their company didnít mean he
adopted their ways. He actually strove
to make them better. What better lead
is there for us to follow?
Becoming More Tolerant
Learning and practicing tolerance is an
ongoing process. Here are suggestions
Stop, look and listen. Youíre not
compromising your beliefs simply by
listening to different points of view.
And you may not change your mind on
an issue, but you may gain some
insight and understanding. For example,
I recently went to see the movie The Da Vinci Code. But just because I
saw the movie didnít mean I was buying
into its premise. In fact, in many
ways it probably strengthened the
beliefs I already had.
Build a good base. The best place
to start trying to be more tolerant is in
your everyday life. For example, try
harder not to lose your temper with
your kids. Be more tolerant with your
parents, your spouse, your co-workers,
etc. After you get a handle on that you
can step it up to the next level and try
to be more tolerant in your beliefs on
Be a student again. Weíre never
too old to stop learning. Try to find a
way to learn about something new or
expand your knowledge about something
with which you are already familiar.
Take a course or go to a lecture on
a subject youíve always wondered
about but never fully understood.
Check with a local college or university
or even your local library for such
Next Month: Let There Be Light