Tolerance as the unique value against nationalism

Marina Azarenkova, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Nothing is right politically that is morally wrong

At a time of crisis, we are again at a point of recognizing the need for values. It is well known that values offer protection, and even more. One who experiences values is able to share this protection with others. Dadi Janki from Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University ever said: “As we develop values within the self, we share the fragrance of those values with the world around us, and in this way move forward to a better world”. If we consider the world to be our extended family of people, we realize the aim of tolerance as peaceful coexistence.

United Nations Department of Public Information and United Nations Economic and Social Council and UNICEF have already summarized a great fund of extremely important documents about tolerance as practice and theoretical method of coexistence. There are more than 20 complete definitions of tolerance as inner strength which enables the individual to face and transform misunderstanding and difficulties. As tolerance develops the ability to accommodate the problems of everyday living, it denotes love and respect as the means of confronting all negative circumstances and making anything easier to tolerate.

It is known that Family is the first classroom to learn tolerance. School is the second classroom. University is the third. The tests of tolerance are taken each and every day of our life. Those who pass with trust and honor use the power of tolerance as the value of protection and success.

Our workshops and activities with parents and students we headlined as “The Global Tolerance vision seminar”.

The content looked like:1.Your vision of tolerance for yourself and the world.

2. Identifying Tolerance as the unique value is empowering. It helps you to choose the right course of action at the right time.3.Sharing values is uplifting. We realize that the Tolerance bind us together and is so much greater than something that set us apart.

The objectives are: 1.To identify the barriers which prevent us from adopting and living Tolerance as a key-value.2. To develop strategic action plans (organizational, personal and family and school-community, in order to overcome those barriers and thus make The Global Tolerance vision statement a reality.

Practical activities in the classroom appeared to be very effective and interesting. Having studied the proposals of the Secretary-General’s Committee on the UN we find them to be very useful and worked up a classroom curriculum. In order to compare, analyze, summarize and explain the results of guestionary lists, we organized some seminars, special classes and role-plays under the title Tolerance the unique value.

The motto of the work with the students we have chosen was “The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”.

What did we asked the students about?

-the lack of tolerance of differences they have noticed at school or in society.

-Are some people tolerated less than others?

-If someone were really popular, would people be more likely to tolerate that person?

-What kinds of things can we say to ourselves so we can have more tolerance of others?

-In a history, social studies or literature unit we asked students to identify a character that is different than they.

-To develop understanding, we asked them to write a short story as if they were that person, explaining the beliefs and reasons behind the character’s actions.

-We paired up the students with someone with whom they did not usually work. Had their interview each other.

-Asked the students to state prejudiced or meant things they had heard and quickly listed those on a poster board or the blackboard. Then asked the students to generate remarks that could be said in response- remarks that offered a more tolerant view but yet were assertive and “cool” (neither aggressive nor wishy- washy.)Examples were: “Yes, it would not be such a neat world if we were all clones. “What would you do if you were in her place?

A couple of volunteers were asked to model the responses when the students were finished.

Having analyzed the results of guestionary lists, oral presentations of the children and adults, the compositions and creative proposals of the students we realized how much is a positive influence of such studies on the intellectual and moral development of the students and teachers. Tolerance as a unique value is closely connected with the other important ones as Cooperation, Freedom, Happiness, Honesty, Humility, Love, Peace, Respect, Responsibility, Simplicity, and Unity. Following the values with the Tolerance in mind, heart and soul will not leave the Future behind.