This I Believe

Kayla - lafayette, California
Entered on January 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance

This I Believe

I believe in the power of tolerance.

The world remains a place full of bigotry and people unable to endure or simply respect the beliefs, opinions, race, religion, nationality, or manners foreign from their own. We have always lived with intolerance, yet most would expect it to be gone in the modern age. While we have made strides in some places, intolerance is still prevalent today. This form of intolerance is prominent in everyday life, evidenced by the fact that many people are unable to accept occurrences they do not necessarily like or agree with.

Intolerance has shown its face all throughout history. Specific examples of intolerance include the Ku Klux Klan, who advocate racism, white supremacy, and anti-Catholicism, or the Holocaust, the National Socialist regime in Germany, during World War II, where approximately six million European Jews were killed. Still today, many people in society do not tolerate political and religious views that differ from their own. This intolerance causes problems, big and small, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Humans exemplify their intolerance in all aspects of life. Although we may not personally contribute to the more serious issues in society, being tolerant in any way possible will improve our standard of living. For in addition to the more serious situations stated above, intolerance can be found on all levels in our everyday lives. We all need to slow down to realize that honking at the old man in front of us, driving ten miles under the speed limit, really isn’t going to benefit our lives, or make him go any faster. We should strive to be tolerant in all circumstances. I’m not saying that I am perfect and that I have never wondered why I decided to stop and wait for a pedestrian, taking their sweet time while crossing the street, because, believe me, I have. However, I recognize that tolerance means accepting something even if you do not necessarily agree with it. While it may be upsetting when someone takes their time to cross the street or drives slower than the speed limit, being tolerant rather than showing unnecessary emotions, is taking the higher road. Also, being tolerant allows us to see that we are that “pedestrian” or cause of intolerance to someone at one time or another.

It is an obvious truth that many things go wrong in life. We need to learn and be able to tolerate these bittersweet happenings. For although it can be frustrating when things do not turn out the way we plan, the only way we can appreciate the good things in life is by experiencing the bad. We too often forget that life is the mysterious gift we have been given, and, therefore, we should not take it for granted, or hypocritically disrespect others. Thus, tolerance is the key to avoid walking blindly through life, only seeing the side of a story that affects oneself.