Being Tolerant

As a parent, what is your biggest worry for your child? What are your expectations from him/her?

Being an academic topper?

Shine brightly in extra-curricular activities?

Be the Numero Uno in everything under the sky?

Parents these days have a lot of expectations from their offspring.

The argument: “We slog a lot to provide the children with the best of everything.”

Well said.

But my question: Are you sure that that is exactly what your child wants too? Have you ever tried to understand what are his/her interests? Have you ever tried to locate whether he/she is happy with the path you’ve mentally charted out for him/her? 

Mostly the answer is NO. Of course, what does a toddler or a primary school-er know about dreams and aspirations!

In this war of making our child the very best in the world and achieving our unfulfilled dreams through our children, we have all forgotten a very important thing. We have forgotten to teach them to be good human beings. We have forgotten to teach them that failure is not the end of the road. Rather it is a very important lesson. It teaches us to value every small success of ours. It also teaches us to work hard the next time. It also makes us face the treatment from others and helps us realize why it is important to support each other in tough times. It helps us realize the importance of tolerance. The ability of children to accept differences puts them in an ideal position to learn tolerance.

Learning tolerance starts at an early age (do click the link and read)

That is so true. I read this beautiful article and am sharing a small snippet here.

What is tolerance? Tolerance represents the respect of the freedom of the other in terms of its different mode of thinking and behavior. Regarding religious diversity, Larousse dictionary defines tolerance as an attitude of respect for those who have a different religion or religious doctrine. In other words, although I do not share your religious faith and practices, I respect you as a person. But not any behavior must be accepted. According to human rights, UNESCO stresses the idea that the practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or to renounce to your own beliefs.

Why should we teach children the tolerance? Education for tolerance should aim at preventing discrimination and marginalization, which are common forms of intolerance. UNESCO argues that tolerance education should help young people to develop their ability to think critically and ethically.

In almost all the kids (including mine) that I meet these days I have seen this urge to stay at the top. It is the parents themselves who provoke the children to resort to unlawful means to achieve their goals. They are so focused on that top position that they fail to realize that there are positions beneath it. They have not been taught that if they don’t get onto the top position, life does not end. They have not been taught to respect others. They tease those who fail to reach the top position. People argue that there is so much the children have to do and so we must not engage in teaching them about accepting failure. They say that it’ll make them lose focus from their goals. But is that true? I doubt.

Do you know why the suicide rates are increasing every year?

Do you know why we are witnessing more and more school/street deaths/crimes every year?

Do you know why the number of divorces are on a rise?

I sincerely believe that it is because we aren’t teaching our youngsters to be tolerant. We are equipping them with everything else but this important tool. Why else will a husband send a divorce notice to a wife who is five minutes late in bringing pappadam to the dinner table? Why else will a youth stab another youth for playfully walking in front of his moving car? Why else will a boy shoot a shopkeeper for telling him that Lays chips is over?


Another article worth sharing is What Happens in College Starts in Kindergarten. The title says it all. Doesn’t it?

Last year my daughter participated in the Open Delhi Judo Championship, reached the finals and won a bronze medal. She was surprised to see both her dad and me congratulating her and being proud about her achievement. She asked us if we weren’t upset that she didn’t win a gold. When we told her that we were happy that she participated and did her best irrespective of her position she was even more surprised.  Later she told us that her friend who won silver was so scared of going back home because her mother would punish her for not winning gold. I know the child and her mother and I confess that her expectation from the kid is mammoth. I have seen the lady blaming and accusing teachers during PTM when the girl loses a mark or two in any of the subjects or scores anything less than A+. What kind of a role model is she being to the child? What is the use of the exceptional results if your child feels scared to even talk to you?


It pains to read headlines like these:

8-year-old shoots, kills elderly caregiver after video game

Teenager shoots one person dead at Washington high school

Two Nagaland youths racially abused, beaten in Gurgaon

Under-18s commit a quarter of all crimes

Bangalore: Minor rapes 3-year-old, victim critical

More youngsters turning to crime

Boy shoots classmate dead in Gurgaon school

Acid attack on four minor sisters in Chhattisgarh

With all this competitiveness, I feel we have lost on morality. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong or good and bad. We have ignored the need to pass on moral lessons to the next generation. It is very important to make them understand the need to co-exist. It is necessary to make them value what they have. It is important to make them respect the other person for who they are. It is equally important to let them know that their failure is not end of the road, but a sign to take a different path or pursue the same path with more effort and dedication.

Do we want more such headlines on crime by youth or can we take time to change the scenario in whatever little ways possible? Change begins at home.

Bearing grudges and seeking revenge doesn’t do anything good. Holding on to this resentment will only make us a prisoner of our own venomous thoughts.

If I were to choose one superpower I would have chosen to get into the minds of young children and make them more tolerant and respectful towards fellow beings. But since there is no such possibility I’ll try and educate as many children as possible on being tolerant and accepting defeat and failure gracefully.


Today’s Project 365 prompt is

You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice: the ability to speak and understand any language, the ability to travel through time, or the ability to make any two people agree with each other.


9 Replies to “Being Tolerant”

  1. It’s sad but true that parents teach children through their actions rather than words and most of the time, they’re simply teaching them to compete without any compassion or consideration for others!

  2. Yea… Sad reality that I see nowadays.. Your article is thought provoking and just right… We need to teach our children tolerance and that its ok to fail or come second…

  3. Exactly…I’ve seen many parents making their children competitive but they don’t pay importance to moral values. Children are in the race to come first by all means, because that’s what they are being taught at home..Tolerance and learning to accept failure is very essential too.

  4. Agree..Agree and Agree. Instead of teaching lessons of forgiveness, parents are promoting the zero tolerance policy. Parents have to be a model for the kids. I have observed many kids are spoiled by the parents and they have a feeling that the world revolves around them. In the competitive world, children grow up believing that they should get everything they want and they have the right to be angry if they do not get it. Mental health of children depends on the way parents interact with them. I have met quite a few who are scared to tell their marks to the parents. Personality, self confidence and maturity of children all depends on the way parents teach the lessons to the kids. Effective parenting is a real skill.

  5. Yes indeed schools and parents generally focus on analytical and numerical skills giving minimal attention to inculcating values and virtues. Moreover teachers themselves may not be qualified to provide these valuable insights as mentioned by you.
    Cheers Rekha 🙂

  6. I thought you would want to get into the minds of parents and make them tolerant. I agree with the message conveyed in this article – tolerance is the need of the hour. There is an adage in Tamil – Perasai Perunashtam. That means, ‘Excessive desire leads to excessive destruction’. No wonder these extremely demanding parents are ignored by their kids during old age!

    Destination Infinity

  7. moral dilmma of life: Excel or compete, compete or cooperate.
    Pursue excellence, is a subtle message thats often missed, creating mess.

This space thrives on your comments. Bring it on!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s