I don’t have to like everybody. However, I tend not to dislike anybody and this is my most demanding lesson still to be learnt. We are all driven by different stereotypes, false prejudice, negative memories and fears. I am aware that when being judgmental I may be totally wrong. That is why I need to be tolerant, in order for somebody to point where does my false assumption lie. But most of all, tolerance is to constantly remind me that my knowledge about other people is mere. Also, the more tolerance I have for strangers the less impatient I am with my closest ones.
We have so different hair, complexion, character, background, temperament, virtues, values etc. Babies tend to notice these differences quite quickly by smiling to other kids and crying when, for example, a bearded man appears within an eyesight. When a child becomes more attentive it can distinguish a boy from a girl. Consequently, it usually unconsciously chooses a peer to play with. The choice is based on the individual preferences such as social attitude, corresponding temperament or even the preferred activities. It is evident that preschool children prefer to stick to kids whose intentions are easy to follow. As a consequence, a child feels safer, accepted and fulfilled – this is so great! Eventually and sadly, there always comes a moment of rejection when kids begin to complain: ‘I hate Eddie, he’s so fat!’, ‘Kate is stupid, I don’t like her red hair!’, ‘I don’t want to play with Hassan, he’s from Iran and speaks strange’.
This the moment for a parent to act! Let’s explain to our wee intolerant child that ‘different’ doesn’t mean worse and every difference has a CAUSE. Spell out that nationality, religion, believes, skin tone don’t matter when choosing a kid to have fun with. Diversity is essential in our world. It may not be obviously easy for you to understand ‘why’ is that so, but eventually somebody needs it and likes it and even loves it. Just like it is in a forest. One animal has a feather on the top of its head, other has spikes or red fur. They are different, yet sharing the same forest and as far as I am concerned they coexist quite peacefully, unless not in danger. If such the case they still have feathers, spikes or fast legs to escape from any risk