open-mindedness: we are all the same

Over the past couple of weeks I have used an artistic symbol for tolerance when discussing the word open-mindedness.  In reality tolerance is not one of my favorite words.  To me it sounds or feels like we are just putting up with something, while not really having respect for the rights of the other person to think or do things in a manner that is right for them. 

In my studies of both religious and secular teachings, of people from all walks of life, it just amazes me how all of them (that I know of) teach much the same things about how to treat each other and how to be successful in life.  Their cultures may be different, their traditions may be different but the bottom line values, ethics and morals are the same. 

One of the subjects that I enjoy studying is peace, both personal and community.  The teachings of all that I have reviewed all come down to some very simple things.  When we mix with others who think differently or express ideas differently it enriches our own beliefs and strengthens our own respect for humans and life.  I once thought about writing a book about how different and yet how much we are the same. 

Here is a challenge for you.  Find someone to tell you how they celebrate holidays or about their traditions, challenges, concerns of the world.  Listen deeply and share your own traditions and ideas with them.   See what you learn and how you feel.  

Teaching Leadership

What do parents want for their children?  When we talk to them this is what we hear.
Parents want to see them learn to be focused, responsible, disciplined, gain confidence, and social skills.   They would also like them to be learning responsibility, tolerance, problem solving, and creative thinking.  While we have been working on those skills here at Balanced Life Skills I believe that over the next year you will see us finding new innovative ways to develop these skills in our students.
We will do this by integrating and imbedding these skills in our culture.  Integrating teaching these skills while we teach the physical skills of the martial arts is one of our goals this year.  As parents and teachers one of the best ways we can help is by modeling the skills we want our children to have.
We can focus on this together as we develop our students into Ultimate Students and citizens of our community.

Tolerance: Be the example

The best way always to teach a characteristic is to be the example daily.  When your child is looking and listening to you what do they hear and see?  You can ask yourself,  If my child only had my behavior and speech to copy, am I setting the example I would like to see them grow up to be?   Yes it is a big job.  But that is what parenting is all about.  It is like a big test everyday.  Building tolerance is one of the things we can do to have an effect on creating peace in our family, community and ultimately the world.

Tolerance: Be involved in diversified groups

Encourage your child and provide opportunities for your child to have contact and get to know individuals of different races, religions, cultures, genders, abilities, and beliefs.  This may be in school, after school, or even in programs like summer camps.  As you display an openness to a range of diversity, your child can imitate your respect for differences.

Tolerance: Provide positive images of all groups

We want to expose our children to positive images – in toys, music, literature, videos, public officials and role models, and examples from TV and the newspapers that represent a wide variety of ethnic groups.  The more they see that you embrace diversity, the more likely it is that they will follow that example.
We do not have to necessarily have to call out look here is a nice ?????? person that did something good.  It is the exposure to a variety without calling attention to the stereotype that does the job.  Our own comfort with complementing others of all races, religious, ethnic backgrounds will rub off on our children.

Tolerance: Commit to raise a tolerant child

Planning our parenting is so important.  If we just let it happen, thinking that we will deal with this later, or believing that our kids already know this or that, we will end up with results other than what we would have chosen.  If we want our children to be tolerant – then we must plan our efforts to teach respect and appreciation for diversity, and adopt a conviction to raise our child that way.
Children only need to know our expectations and they will live up to them.  I will discuss this in a later post in more detail, but for the time lets just say we must do the following to attain this goal:

  • Celebrate differences early on
  • Expose your child to diversity
  • Give simple, straightforward answers to questions about differences.
  • Help your child look for similarities.

If you do these four things your child will begin to embrace your principles.