COLUMN: I don’t want to be tolerated

There is a big difference between accepting something and tolerating it

I often hear of people trying to teach tolerance as a way to make the world a better place.

Personally, I can’t stand the word “tolerance” and honestly, I sure hope no one ever has to “tolerate” me.

Do you know what I would like? To be accepted. There is a big difference between accepting something and tolerating it. I see acceptance as keeping an open mind, trying to bridge some understanding.

We all know tolerance really means, “I still don’t like you. I will never like you, but since you have to be here, I am going to glare at you.”

If we want to make this world a better place, we should start working on accepting, not tolerating. As far as I am concerned, tolerating is still enabling people to hate.

Canada is a pretty awesome multicultural mosaic of people. Spreading hatred or tolerance to any specific group of people would be similar to only using one or two crayons, leaving the remaining 62 vibrant colours untouched in the box.

We can accept people, communities and ideas.

If a new regional sewage plant is built, would it better for people to accept it or tolerate it?

When something is in proposal mode it’s good to stand your ground and fight for what you believe in. But when something is a done deal, maybe it’s best to all collectively accept it.

It’s not about being submissive or not speaking out. I think acceptance is a mind set, not a behaviour.

At this point everyone should be speaking up about the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. I do mean everyone, whether you are for or against it. Now is the time to voice your concern or your support.

A lot of the time people miss the mark. The time to talk is when government officials are making the decisions. And in the end, we’ll all have to accept the outcome, so you might as well have your voice counted.

I have been to dozens of public hearings where I have sat with a handful of other people. Then later, when the bylaw passes, I hear all sorts of people complaining out in the community.

In that case, I think people need to accept the result, if they were too lazy to go to a council meeting and speak their thoughts.

When it comes to deer, I’ve accepted it. When I open my blinds and see deer munching on my bushes, I give the deer a friendly wave and say good morning through the glass.

My community garden is surrounded by deer fencing with a secure gate, because us gardeners have accepted that without it, the deer would eat the veggies. The other option would be tolerating them eating the food.

When I catch myself thinking ill of someone or something, I try to remember to stop myself and assess why I am thinking that way. Often it’s my own preconceptions that make me think negatively.

If you had a special needs child who required some extra assistance in the classroom, would you want their teacher to accept them or tolerate them?

I understand that there are plenty of things that may be tough to accept, such as a sex offender living on your street, or even Scotch broom.

Sorry folks, I have a soft spot for the plant.

Anyway, back to point. The holidays are over and we are getting back into the swing of things.

Maybe now could be the time to look at the things in your community that you have been tolerating and find it in your heart to accept them instead.

Whichever route you go, I’ll accept that.

Charla Huber is a reporter for the Goldstream News Gazette.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com