Another Look At The Meaning Of Tolerance

What does “tolerance” mean to you?

I know the word is not new to you as people frequently use it. What I don’t know is how much of its real meaning you have understood and applied in your own sphere of influence.

You may probably have been tempted to think that tolerance strictly means to put up with something or someone with very nasty, horrible, terrible or poignant attributes. Not really!

Please take a good look at the definition below and compare it with what you already know about the meaning of the word:

Tolerance:

“Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”

 

I don’t know about you, but the definition above opened up an entirely new vista to me, of which I am glad.

It shows for instance that tolerance doesn’t say we should put up with evil or bad things or bad people. But it clearly portrays “willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from [our] own.”

Now let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the said definition:

• Willingness to accept…
• Behaviour and beliefs…
• Different from your own…

Tolerance would be required wherever there are inter-human relationships because you will always meet people whose behaviour and beliefs are different from yours.

That’s why tolerance may also be understood as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence or opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

That means you can disagree with someone without going to war with him or her.

It means you should have an open mind towards someone even when he or she has an opinion that is completely different from yours.

Due to a number of varied factors such as genetic make-up, family background, religion, education, geography, exposure, life experiences etc, all of us believe different things and behave differently from one another.

That means that at any point in time in your chequered life, you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you; whose opinions about issues are not like yours. 

The question would then be, “how would you deal with such people?”

group of people standing on dock beside body of water

In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to tolerate them if you cannot change them.

Talking about changing people, experience has shown that many people are aware that some other people do not share their opinions, behaviour or beliefs.

But some times, they are unwilling to accept such other people who do not share their outlook. This is often the beginning of unnecessary conflicts in human interactions.

However, you may only try to effect some changes on peoples’ behaviour or beliefs if possible to suite yours; but you shouldn’t try to use force.

By the way, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t really want to be changed. You can only influence such person.

When it comes to changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs, influence should be the operating word, not force.

Otherwise, you must bring to bare the willingness to accept their behaviour and beliefs which you perceive to be different from your own and which you cannot change.

That, my friend, is the real meaning of tolerance.

Bear in mind that tolerance is a seed; as you sow it, you will reap the sweet harvest.

Don’t you realise that other people would have to tolerate you too?

I believe you know that not all your opinions, behaviour and beliefs are acceptable to everyone you come in contact with!

Although, I cannot guarantee it, other people too ought to be willing to accept your opinions, behaviour and beliefs which are different from their own. That is if they know what it means to practice tolerance.

There is no worthwhile relationships with people that do notnot requ tolerance in between.

Like all good habits, tolerance doesn’t just happen to us; it has to be cultivated deliberately and ‘open-heartedly’.

It is very important to cultivate it because you will need it if you desire to build a meaningful, harmonious and long-lasting relationship of any kind.

Here are a few areas where we can apply the principle of tolerance:

At home, between spouses , amongst siblings or other family members;
At work, between you and your boss, colleagues or direct reports;
In your neighbourhood, amongst co-tenants, etc
Amongst your friends, classmates in schools etc
In churches, with members and leaders alike;
In other organisations /relationships, etc

In fact, anywhere you come in contact with humans, tolerance is needed. As you well know, no body is perfect.

People are different. You are not everyone and everyone is not you. Therefore, there will always be differences in opinion, behaviour and beliefs between you and others.

There would be conflicts all the time in all kinds of human relationships if the principle of tolerance is not imbibed.

The extent to which you realise this differences and how well you are willing to accept and manage them depict your level of tolerance at any given period.

What does tolerance mean to you? Let’s hear from you in the comment section.

******

Previously published on this blog in 2015 as “What tolerance really means.”

Dad, You Can’t Disown Your Son; Son Neither Can You!

Why a father and a son should not disown each other.

Some parents often use unkind words on their children, without caring much about the negative effects such words have on them. Researches have shown that yelling at children or speaking harshly to them negatively affects their self-esteem.

Apart from speaking unkind words and yelling at their children, some parents go as far issuing unnecessary threats too. For example, imagine a dad who lashed at his son in a very strong voice, “….I will disown you.”

That’s really unfair to the child! Forget whether the dad meant it or not, that’s not the issue here now. We know that many angry parents who threaten to disown their children never get to do so. But why use such a threat?

 Truth be told, when a parent threatens to disown a child over some irregular behaviour, or for whatever reason, what comes to the fore more is the lack of a good sense of responsibility on the part of the parent than the foolishness of the child.

Apart from the negative psychological effects such words have on the child, such threats also cast some doubts on the level of maturity of the man as a father. I say this because a mature, patient and responsible parent should know better ways to handle his child’s misdeeds than to issue a threat to disown him or her over such behaviour.

An average teenager does not like to be threatened; parents ought to know better.

Truth be told, when a parent threatens to disown a child over some irregular behaviour, or for whatever reason, what comes to the fore more is the lack of a good sense of responsibility on the part of the parent than the foolishness of the child. Why would a parent contemplate disowning his own biological child, under any circumstance? Bring up any reason and I will tell you that it is not acceptable.

 Whether your dad lives up to your expectation or not, he is still your dad. You don’t even have the right to disrespect him, let alone repudiate his fatherhood.

Let me be frank with you, it is a mark of parental irresponsibility for a parent to disown his child over some unruly behaviour of the child. Parents should take full responsibility for a child’s behaviour. One way or another, parents contribute to whatever behaviour their children put up in life.

To the father, whether it appears so to you or not, your kid is yours forever; you are his dad and he is your son. Whether he behaves well or not, you belong to him and he belongs to you. I mean, he didn’t ask to be brought into the world; it was your choice and your decision. So as long as those words are true, you could not really disown him.

To the child, your dad is yours forever. It doesn’t matter that you were not consulted before he and your mum took the decision to birth you into the world. Do you realise at all that your dad was also not consulted before his own parents gave birth to him? So show some understanding with your dad, please. Whether your dad lives up to your expectation or not, he is still your dad. You don’t even have the right to disrespect him, let alone repudiate his fatherhood.

 It should go without saying that no matter happens, a father should not disown his own biological child, and neither should a child disown his dad.

Several years ago, I watched on TV as ace Nigerian comedian, Tariah Basorge Jnr, told the joke of two kinds of dads who threatened their boys that they would be disowned if they continued with some certain unacceptable behaviour. I can’t recap the story with the exact words he used, but the joke sounded something like this:

The first Dad, wealthy and elitist by all means, threatened his son, “James, if you continue with this type of behaviour, I will disown you.”

James, realizing he had done wrong, replies in an apologetic tone, “Dad, I am sorry. Please don’t disown me. I promise to behave better going forward.”

Second Dad, poor and struggling to earn a living, said to his own son, “John, if you continue with this type of behaviour, I will disown you.”

John, feeling his father’s threat was inconsequential responded, “Disown me? Of what use is it being your son anyway? In fact, I have ‘defathered’ you already. When, my teacher asked us to invite our parents to the school the other day for PTA meeting, did I invite you?”

No parent has any sufficiently justifiable basis to use the words, “I disown you” on his child.

Even though the story was meant to be a joke, the implication is very serious. It is really sad how a dad and a son’s relationship degenerated to the extent like that between John and his dad. The two scenarios paint different pictures worthy of further consideration.

First, James’s response may be considered good enough whereas his father’s threat was as inappropriate as that of John’s father. But John’s response is condemnable by all means. That’s irresponsibility on his part!

All the same, it should go without saying that no matter happens, a father should not disown his own biological child, and neither should a child disown his dad. While I am not trying to say that parents should condone unruly behaviour of their children, it must be stated that parents should not use some kind of negative words on their kids.

When it comes to addressing the misdeeds of a child, a parent should never use “I disown you” on the child. Similarly, when a child comes face to face with the shortcomings of his parent, he should never use “I disown you” on the old block. No parent has a sufficiently justifiable basis to use such words. And no child should say that to any of his parents either.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

 

 

©Copyright 2015 – Victor Uyanwanne

THINK MORE ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE THAN YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF

THINK MORE ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE THAN YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF
By Victor Uyanwanne
31/03/2015

On my fourth wedding anniversary recently, while doing an online search on WordPress, I was fortunate to stumble on a Seth Adam Smith’s article, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”

On the surface, the title of the article appeared to me to be somewhat discouraging marriage. And to be honest, at first I found that very unacceptable because I have always looked forward to being married; I got married and established my belief that marriage is for me. So you can imagine how infuriated I felt when I first saw the audacious title, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”

“How could he say that?” I queried into an empty air. Anyway, out of sheer curiosity, I proceeded to read the article. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that there was more to the article than its title seemed to portray. I came to realise that the article didn’t say one should not get married, neither did it say that one made a mistake by getting married. But it succinctly embodied the principle, amongst others, that married people should think of their spouses and their needs more than they think of themselves.

Furthermore, I came to realise that I totally agree with Seth on the ideas he pushed forward in the article. “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy…,” he opined. Even though he credited his father with it, the wisdom he expressed in the statement appeared simple in nature, yet very profound: “… Love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.”

I believe the assertion is in line with what Apostle Paul told the Philippians several centuries ago: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3, NIV). For our purpose here, we can paraphrase this to say, “Spouse, don’t be selfish towards your partner. Be humble; ascribe more value to your spouse than you ascribe to yourself”.

Therefore, in saying “marriage isn’t for you”, I came to the understanding that Seth meant that “Marriage is about the person you married,” not necessarily about you.

SETH & WIFE
SETH & WIFE/www.dailymail.co.uk634 × 353

In Seth’s own words:

.… A true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?””
“And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered”  (Emphasis mine).

In the final analysis, it became more obvious that in marriage relationships:

• We should think more about our spouses than we expect them to think about us.
• We should give to our spouses more than we expect them to give us.
• We should love our spouses more than we expect them to love us.
• We should give more honour to our spouses than we expect them to give to us.
• We should forgive and tolerate the bahaviour of our spouses more than we expect them to do for us;
• If we don’t like it when our spouses annoy us, why do we not care a hoot when we annoy them?

I am convinced that if we sow happiness in our spouses, the fruit will show up in our own lives.

References:
http://sethadamsmith.com/literal-odyssey/marriage-isnt-for-you/ accessed on 26/03/2015

http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/ accessed on 26/03/2015

 

WHAT TOLERANCE REALLY MEANS

WHAT TOLERANCE REALLY MEANS
By Victor Uyanwanne
13/03/2015

I have always been interested in learning new words and I have usually made conscious effort towards achieving that aim. I remember way back in school when we were much younger when we used to keep “New Words and Meaning” notebooks as a deliberate strategy to enhance our knowledge of English words. Those notebooks were really helpful then in building our capacity to understanding English as a second language.

Somehow, I have carried the habit of learning new words into my adult life, but with a different strategy. Thanks to the revolution in ICT! For instance, I subscribed to an offer by my telecom service provider to send me one new English word and its meaning, every day. I have been enjoying this service for years now without fail. This service has afforded me a convenient medium of learning the meaning of many new words and also refreshing my memory with the ones I already knew their meanings.

Along this line recently, while at work, the text message alert on my phone beeped as usual. When I checked the new word that was ‘delivered’ to me, the meaning I saw totally opened a new perspective to me on what I thought I already knew about that word. That was when it hit me to write this piece. Please read on.

What is the word we are talking about here? “Tolerance”! That’s it. I know the word is not new to you as people frequently use it; what I don’t know is how much of its real meaning you really have understood and applied in your own sphere of influence.

You may probably have been tempted to think that tolerance strictly means to put up with something or someone with very nasty, horrible, terrible or poignant attributes. smiles! But look at this definition below and compare it with what you already know about the meaning of the word:

“Tolerance: Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”

I don’t know about you, but the definition above opened up an entirely new vista to me, of which I am glad. It shows for instance that tolerance didn’t say we should put up with evil or bad things or bad people, as some people may think. But it clearly portrays “willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from [our] own.”

Now let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the said definition:

• Willingness to accept
• Behaviour and beliefs
• Different from your own

To be honest, tolerance should be required wherever there are inter human relationships because you will always meet people whose behaviour and beliefs are different from yours.

Due to a number of varied factors such as genetic make-up, family background, religion, education, geography, exposure, life experiences etc, all of us believe different things and behave differently from one another. That means that at any point in time in your chequered life, you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you. In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to accept such different behaviour or beliefs, if they cannot be changed.

Talking about changing people’s behaviour and beliefs, experience has shown that many people are aware that some other people do not share their behaviour or beliefs. But sometimes they are unwilling to accept such other people who do not share their outlook. This is often the beginning of unnecessary conflicts.

However, you may only try to effect some changes on peoples’ bahaviour or beliefs if possible to suite yours; but you shouldn’t try to use force. You can’t change anyone who doesn’t really want to be changed. You can only influence such persons.

When it comes to changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs, influence should be the operating word, not force. Otherwise, you must bring to bare the willingness to accept their behaviour and beliefs which you perceive to be different from your own and which you cannot change. That, my friend, is the real meaning of tolerance.

Bear in mind that tolerance is a seed; as you sow it, you will reap the sweet harvest. Besides don’t you realize that others would have to tolerate you too? I believe you know that not all your behaviour and beliefs are acceptable to everyone you come in contact with! Although, I cannot guarantee it, they too ought to be willing to accept your behaviour and beliefs which are different from their own. There is no worthwhile relationship that doesn’t require tolerance in between.

Like all good habits, tolerance doesn’t just happen to us; it has to be cultivated deliberately and ‘open-heartedly’. It is very important to cultivate it because you will need it if you desire to build a meaningful, harmonious and long-lasting relationship of any kind with people.

Here are a few areas where we can apply the principle of tolerance:
• At home, between spouses , amongst siblings or other family members;
• At work , between you and your boss, colleagues or direct reports;
• In your neighourhoods, amongst cotenants, etc
• Amongst your friends, classmates in schools etc
• In churches, with members and leaders alike;
• In other organisations /relationships, etc
• In fact, anywhere you come in contact with humans.

People are different. You are not everyone and everyone is not you. Therefore, there will always be differences in behaviour and beliefs between you and others. There would be conflicts all the time in all kinds of human relationships if the principle of tolerance is not imbibed. The extent to which you realise this differences and how well you are willing to accept and manage them depict your level of tolerance at any given period of time.