Whatever happened to kindness, love, compassion, and tolerance? You may not think that tolerance fits in that sentence, but it does. Tolerance is a misunderstood word, and I hope to explain it in a way that not only makes sense but gives you a blueprint to share with your children.
What does tolerance mean to you?
Think about it. To some, it means to “put up with” someone or something. Mostly a behavior. We tolerate naturally as adults. We tolerate noise, hardship, or annoying people. The American Heritage Dictionary defines tolerance as “The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.”
For years we have been asked to tolerate different things that society deems worthy — the mainstream media blasts this, the politicians, and sometimes our pastor. We should be tolerant of the sinner because God loves the sinner. But the sin? Today we find that tolerance does not ask; it demands obedience and sadly to only one specific way of thought.
To be tolerant in today’s culture is to adhere to behavior that some of us find abhorrent. It is not up to us to judge; that is the Almighty’s job. But that does not mean we have to be accepting and leave our morals, our beliefs and, dare I say, our very souls for the world to trample.
Is this extreme? If this were the early 2020s, I’d say yes, but now as we move into a new era for our country, we find that the curtain that previously allowed us a peek into what was lurking underneath has now been ripped completely off. We are expected, and it has been demanded in some cases to toe the line, or we find ourselves canceled. We watched as some social media platforms were stripped of their servers. Then, social media shut off accounts for people they deem radical. Who defines radical? What is radical? I think the shock for the little people on the streets is the orchestrated coordination.
Teaching Your Children Tolerance
What do we do if we are trying to mind our own business and raise our family in a loving home amidst a hostile culture? It is really simple, we teach our children the truth and explain what we believe. Do you realize that many children are not aware of our core beliefs? What do you think about gender, radical factions, riots, peaceful demonstrations? Talk to your children about why you believe what you believe and dialogue if they have an opposing viewpoint listen. Is it well-founded?
It starts with communication:
Communication is essential within our families. We may not always agree with our children’s viewpoints, especially as they get older. The same holds true for those in our family as the person you talk to on the street; clarity in words, kindness, respect are all important. That does not mean in the end; you must agree. Respectfully say, “I agree to disagree with your position.” Cutting words that disparage a person’s character is uncalled for and will not get anyone points in a conversation. That makes people tune out to anything you say.
Explain the difference between tolerance and compromise. To tolerate something does not mean you will compromise your beliefs. Just because a radical faction thinks one way does not mean that we all should follow along if it goes against our core values. If you are not clear on your core values, now may be a good time to address this situation.
Talk to your children about what I call “the moral line in the sand.” What is the point you will not concede? What is that line for you and your family? Have the children explain what this means in their own words. Kids are smart, and typically we underestimate their capacity to understand.
Explain when compromise is important and possible. It is essential to comprise with siblings and parents. It is important to understand we are not all perfect, and we may not have all the answers, and someone in our family may know better.
And, lastly, explain that tolerance and acceptance do not mean you agree. At some point in time, your children will work with people who do not hold their values. And, that is okay. As Christians, we learn to love as Christ loves. But, that does not mean we lay on the ground and get trampled. We have free will to make decisions, good and bad.
FREE Character Planner and Podcast on Tolerance:
I go into more detail in my planner on the topic of tolerance that you can grab for free as a subscriber HERE. The planner is filled with activities to practice what I’ve explained above and allow children to discuss issues rationally.
I also have a podcast on the same topic – Teaching Your Child Tolerance.
I highly recommend teaching tolerance. I believe in a world gone mad that tolerance is the only way to survive this mess. Will it bring unity? Absolutely not. But it will bring civility. There is one key element that our brethren forget, and that is tolerance for it to be truly “tolerant” must be two-sided. Tolerance is for all people, not those with the most power and access to the media. Let us remember this in our lives and help our children to understand that Judeo/Christian values are what this hurting world need.