6 Ways You Can Teach Your Child Tolerance
Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
How are you different? How is your child different?
Learning to recognize common ground can be uniting, but learning to recognize and accept differences can be just as endearing. Tolerance is not just a buzzword exploited by the media in today’s society, but is a core social value of America. America has been labeled “the great melting pot,” because of its tendency to bring people of all races, religions, and ideals into one place. It is a place of diversity, and therefore a place for tolerance.
Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Tolerance is the key to increasing understanding and decreasing fear in our next generation, our children. Tolerance is acceptance, openness, and respect for differences. But how do parents promote this healthy appreciation and respect for these differences that make us so great?
Children, at very young ages, are often exceptionally aware and honest about differences they observe between themselves and others, but rarely attach judgments to those candid observations. We adults are the ones that do that. You may have heard a parent in the grocery store shushing their three-year-old who says, “Mommy, that man is very big!” or “Daddy, that girl has pink hair!” These observations are often expressed in form of a question like, “Why does that man have such dark skin?” “Why does that lady wear that long robe?” “Why is that boy in a wheel chair?” These are perfect opportunities to teach the core social value of tolerance. What we do and say in these crucial moments can help to mend wounds and bridge chasms between different people that have been incurable in the past. Being willing to put off the awkwardness and to talk openly and honestly with our children about their questions is just the tip of the iceberg of how we can teach them tolerance and understanding.