Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear sons: Be accepting

Letter #11

Dear sons:

As you go along in life, you'll encounter a lot of people who are different from you - those who are a different race, different sex, different cultural background, different educational background. There will just be a lot of people who are different from you. That's a good thing. That's what makes this country - and this world so great. I hope you'll remember to always appreciate those differences in others.

I don't like the term "tolerance." To be tolerant of another or of a group of people simply means you put up with them. I don't want you to put up with others. I want you to accept them for who they are, just as I want others to accept you for who you are.

I encounter people who aren't particularly accepting and aren't tolerant, often those of older generations who are set in their ways and not so willing to change their way of thinking. I also have to remind myself that it doesn't make them bad people. It means that they repeated what they were taught or they've reacted a certain way based on their life experiences. Nearly everyone has redeeming qualities. Sometimes you have to ignore them, sometimes you even have to accept them and take it as an example that you don't want to repeat.

I hope that you'll not just tolerate, but accept and embrace those who others don't. Isn't that how you would want to be treated?

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