Saturday, April 5, 2008

tolerance

I have been busy these last couple of weeks doing a bit of spring cleaning. I'm clearing out the clutter in the house and the mind. Do you ever feel that life is trying very hard to teach you something? In different ways this year a theme keeps coming up and hitting me in the head... tolerance. I looked it up this morning and this is the definition that really defines this word best for me:

"Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference." This definition comes from tolerance.org

Are we teaching this to our children? I've been told most of my life that children are just mean to each other somtimes. A sort of it's an innate thing with all children. Actually, I've found just the opposite to be true. Our children embrace difference unless we teach them otherwise. When we teach our children that our way of thinking or believing is the only way, we are teaching them intolerance.

As I was growing up, I had a huge variety of friends. My parents never ever excluded anyone based on their beliefs, family values, color of their skin, or country of origin. All of my friends and their friends were welcome in our home. I distinctly recall one of my very best friends telling me about her family's experiences with anti-semiticism. It was absolutely unbelievable to me and I thought my beautiful friend was not telling me the truth. I have since learned that hate takes many forms, sometimes ugly and readily apparent and sometimes hidden and disguised.

My child believes in many things. One of the things he believes is evolution, that does not mean he doesn't believe in God. We don't believe in organized religion, that doesn't make him a bad person. He is one of the most conscientious, fair-minded, kind, and moral kids you'd ever meet. He is being discriminated against because he has been dubbed a "non-believer" by parents of children he goes to school with. The children are only repeating the intolerance they are learning at home. Please teach your children about tolerance. The result of ignorance and intolerance is painful and devastating.

6 comments:

Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Tammi,
My heart goes out to your son. It must break his heart that he is being 'labeled'...

This is a beautiful post. Indeed if we had more tolerance and love, and less fear of those different than us
then perhaps fewer people would feel isolated, unloved and at the worse, hated...

Again.. big hugs to your sweet son. Shame on those 'parents' (who should be role models and know better) for being such bullies and for being self righteous.. which I think is always the root of any discrimination...

Kim H. said...

WOW what a hard week you and the rest of the family have had. HUGS!

You know it makes me so sad to read this- why are people teaching these things to their children! I feel so bad for your DS. How horrible for him. This makes me so upset. First, just because you do not go to a physical building does not mean you do not believe. Second, what if you don't believe- that is what you believe- it is your right. People have not right to label you- I dislike labels! Not everyone fits into a category!

LostLuggage said...

You rock, Tami! I would never have the balls to address this topic in a written forum...

Heather Grow said...

You're a good mom, Tami. A couple years ago I decided that I'm going to stop acting like a "Christian" and instead follow the example set by Christ. I was getting really sick of the way people were treating each other and using their beliefs to somehow justify their behavior.

I agree with what you said, kids are naturally loving and kind. It sounds like these kids that are treating your son unkindly are doing so to please their parents.

ScrappyPam said...

How boring life would be if we were all the same, thinking the same, believing the same... such diversity should be celebrated but instead it's feared. I wish you both the best.

Thanh said...

I am with your son. My mom is a sect of Buddhism and I follow none. I believe in spirituality, but not really religion. It is shameful that other parents have not taught their children to act of tolerance and accept differences, but alas what can you do. Know that you are a good person as is your son, Tami. I thank you for this post as it is a great reminder that tolerance is something we all must learn and use.