It is in vogue to promote the idea of tolerance among ethnic groups, races and religions. In Santa Barbara where I live there is a whole program in schools providing educational material about “tolerance”. In Washington D. C. The Museum about the atrocities of the Holocaust is called the museum of tolerance.

What is wrong?

Assume you and your wife fight a lot. The prescription someone gives you both is that you should ” tolerate ” each other.

Tolerate?

It means to me to yield to an impulse to express your preference and become passive instead, to surrender to the reality that you cannot stand your differences.

To me to tolerate others who are different sounds like to suffer quietly.

So what is the alternative? To fight? To kill each other?

To reject the differences?

No!

My prescription is to rejoice the differences. To actively seek the positive that the difference offers.

When a man introduces his spouse should he say:” this is my wife whom I quietly tolerate” or should he introduce her as his better part.

Being different means that the other party by definition has something different to offer. Why not actively search for that enriching difference rather than just tolerate the uncomfortable difference?

The gypsies can be tolerated or we can rejoice their music, their love for living in the moment.

The Jewish people can be tolerated for their idiosyncrasies of being highly passionate about whatever is their particular belief (interpreted as being ” pushy”), or we can appreciate their dedication to education, their natural search for knowledge, the sharpness of their mind.

Every person, every nation, culture, sexual orientation… Every flower or weed has a story to tell. Do not just tolerate it. Learn the story. Embrace the learning and rejoice the difference offered.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes