Let’s promote acceptance and not just tolerance

Guest Post by Ashley Pinchbak

According to Google (or the first definition Google found), tolerance is defined as the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behaviors that one does not necessarily agree with.  As for my definition I’ve always believed to tolerate something or someone is to simply put up with them, basically the bare minimum.  In my opinion this is a negative concept.  I didn’t always think this way. It wasn’t until I started working with young children that I began to see the flaw in tolerance.

An open mind is a must in any classroom.  Children come from many different backgrounds and cultures and as a childcare provider it is my job to make sure they all feel welcomed, loved, and learn something new each day.  This is where I learned about my own personal prejudices and how to properly address my issues.  Me being the naïve person I can be I believed everyone else had faced their prejudices along with me.  I very recently realized I was wrong.

Photo courtesy of Gonzaga University Blog

 As a childcare provider it is my job to make sure they all feel welcomed, loved, and learn something new each day.

It’s never the big issues that are hard to face.  Most times we’re aware of their existence and with a little help we can tackle a problem.  It is that innate hatred of the unknown we are brought up with that stumps us every time.  What makes it worse is that we are unconscious of the problem until an issue is brought to our eyes.  That is the defining moment.  That is what makes or breaks you.  And in that I pose this question, will you simply tolerate or will you accept?

Google defines acceptance as the act of accepting; to receive willingly.  So ask yourself would you rather be tolerated or accepted?  Each of us is an individual.  We all bring positives and negatives to the table.  We think, we feel, we live, and we love differently.  That’s what makes the world special.  Would you want to live somewhere where everyone is the same, where everyone conformed? I would think not.  With that knowledge I believe everyone wants to be accepted.  No one wants to be placed and a box because of their gender, race, sex, ethnicity, or any other thing that makes them an individual.

So ask yourself would you rather be tolerated or accepted?

That is what tolerance does.  It places people into a box, points out their differences, and tells us to be just polite enough to get by.  That is no way to live.  Enough is enough.  Let’s make a conscious decision to not pass on this warped way of thinking to another generation.  Let’s raise up a generation of “acceptors”, people who see a person first.  And that an individual is defined by whatever definition they give you and not by the stereotype you’ve been lead to believe.  Let’s make a difference.  It’s as easy as speaking up.  Michael Jackson was on to something when he said he was starting with the man in the mirror.  What are your prejudices?  What jokes would you not tell at work because they would be offensive?  What person would you not accept for your child to marry?  How often have you looked at someone and realized you judged too soon.  There is no right answer because we all think differently.


 Stop tolerating.  Let’s begin to accept.

When you can answer those questions honestly to yourself you have taken the first step towards acceptance.  Toward tearing through the hatred you may not have known was there.  You will begin to see things from a different perspective.  Talk to someone you usually wouldn’t.  See the world through their eyes.  Realize they aren’t wrong, just different.  Do this for yourself.  Do this for our children.  Do this for our world.  Stop getting by on the bare minimum. Stop tolerating.  Let’s begin to accept.


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