Tolerance: Confronting our own prejudices

In every characteristic we discuss we always end up with the thought that we as parents and role models must model the behavior that we would like to see in our children.  But with tolerance we will begin with that concept.  Our very first step is to examine our own prejudices and stereotyping beliefs.  None of us have grown up without being affected by this.
Even if we are not aware of them, in some way our children see through all of that and can see these communicated attitudes. (usually quite unintentionally)   To begin with don’t try to determine your own prejudice, examine what you saw as a child in your parents.  What were some of your parents prejudices?  Now when we have that list, examine yourself – Do any of these remain with you today?
Take time to reflect on how you may be projecting them to your children.  Then take the steps of tempering them so that they do not become your children’s prejudice.

Building Tolerance in our children

Tolerance is our new word of the month and is a virtue that will help our children and ourselves to get along in the world. Tolerance can be taught. One author I read as I looked at this subject tells the story of being in the airport and seeing a large group of children with a t-shirt on that said, ” Children Are Not Born Racist.” How profound. We are not born intolerant, we learn it from the environment that we live in.
I grew up in a home where though there was not any overt intolerance that I remember, it was subtle in the way things were said and some feeling of superiority over certain races. This amazes me now, since I realize how poor we were, how little we had, yet there was this air of superiority due to skin color. There is a Native Indian saying, “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” If we are going to influence our children in regard to tolerance we must practice what we preach and preach what we practice.
Over this month I will have some clear cut things we can do for ourselves and our children to learn and practice tolerance.


Young students

Tolerance means: “Even though we’re different, we can all get along!”

Older students, teens, adults:

Tolerance means: An attitude of openness and respect for the differences that exist among people.