The Attribute of Tolerance


Posted on 1/9/2017 by Rosalea Admin
"The highest result of education is tolerance."
- Helen Keller

"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature."
- Voltaire


Tolerance is often used in the context of societal discussions, but it is also a very personal and individual attribute.

Would you say of yourself that you’re a tolerant person? Tolerant of people? Tolerant of things? Tolerant of certain situations?

Perhaps you can list a few things that you have no tolerance for whatsoever.

There seems to be an inverse correlation between how strongly you believe in your own correctness and how much tolerance you exhibit. This is what jumped out at me about Hellen Keller’s quote. The highest result of education is tolerance. Yet somewhere short of that highest level is perhaps a place where belief in full knowledge, in complete understanding, can actually lead to intolerance. I believe that the process of education requires tolerance and the acceptance of one’s own fallibility. These attributes allow you to try, fail, change, improve, try again, and succeed. The golden realization is that tolerance leads directly to personal growth and excellence.

Before a baby learns to speak we are naturally tolerant of their indecipherable utterances. Some parents might say that babies stretch your tolerance to the limit! Yet even as we tolerate it, we do not change our belief that the baby should someday speak coherently. Tolerance is not the same as suppressing your own beliefs or ideas, but it creates a precious bridge from confusion and conflict to one of mutual understanding. As we work compassionately with the infant, they learn faster and then eventually how to communicate with words. Along the way we build an important bond.

The universe is tolerant of our lack of understanding and our many failures. As Voltaire prescribes, let’s pardon each other in the same fashion.

Pick an situation or person that you can be more tolerant of this week and really grow!

- Mark
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