tolerance

Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to adopt a Siberian Husky. After much searching, reading, and researching, we finally found one with a personality that was the right fit for our family. We decided to name our new family member “Waya” (wye-yah) which is the Cherokee word for “wolf” and a derivative of my own Cherokee name, “Wayunega.” Waya is very big, very docile, and has a tremendous heart. In fact, his nickname before he joined our family was “Velcro,” a name that he earned because of his tendency to walk right up to you, fall sideways against your leg and then stay there until he had received as much attention as he wanted. Waya is perhaps the most tolerant dog that I have ever had the pleasure to know…a trait that is put to the test daily. You see, just last year my wife was introduced to “Lexi” just outside of a restaurant in Edmond, and it was love at first sight.

Lexi is an AKC registered Yorkshire Terrier. At just over a year old, Lexi’s personality, while lovable, is the exact opposite of Waya’s. If Waya is large and docile, Lexi is tiny and draws on an inexhaustible source of energy. Whenever the two are together, Lexi chases Waya all over the yard jumping as high as she can to nip him on his nose, trying desperately to get him to play with her. To his credit, though you can tell that he is visibly annoyed, Waya tolerates this behavior with all the grace that we have come to know and expect from his enormous heart. No matter how many times she nips at him, this giant Husky never so much as growls back at her.

As of late, our culture has begun to confuse toleration with unqualified acceptance and agreement. The great irony in this change is that toleration, by its very nature, implies disagreement. When we tolerate one another, we acknowledge that we disagree fundamentally over something that we each consider to be important. However, inherent to our disagreement is a mutual respect for one another’s right to believe as we do, tempered by our mutual acknowledgement of one another’s inherent individual worth. If you want to make a difference in the world, than be willing to tolerate those that you disagree with. If you do, then you will likely find that the respect inherent to your toleration goes a long way in preparing a path for the reception of your opinion.

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