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Mar 2006 Character Quality -- Tolerance
The following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
     The store was so packed with shoppers that the aisles were jammed with buggies and
buyers.  All the check-out counters were full and the lines looked like the check-in at an airport.  
It seemed that everyone was busy and in a hurry.  A lady, armed with two buggies brimming to
the top, headed towards a check-out lane.  She was almost there, when another customer
pulled in front of her and frantically  pushed her way to the counter, by-passing several other
waiting customers without so much as an “I hope you don’t mind.”  The other lady gazed in
disbelief that another person could be so inconsiderate, but she said nothing and calmly waited
as if nothing had happened.  She showed remarkable tolerance in this situation, something that
requires a great deal of character to do.

     Tolerance is realizing that everyone is at varying levels of maturity and making allowances
for those who lack wisdom in different areas.  Just as rich, full gardens benefit from decayed
leaves and plants, so you can benefit from both your own and others’ experiences by looking
beyond the immediate picture.  By looking past the first impressions and realizing the root
problems or causes, we can better understand the people who may irritate us.  Everyone is still
maturing in some way or another.  We need to give room for others to grow and remember that
mistakes are sometimes the best ways to learn.  When we find ourselves growing annoyed, we
need to check ourselves out first.  Are we doing anything to start or amplify a problem?  As
much as is dependant upon you, live in peace with all men, not allowing trivial irritations to
damage or obliterate relationships.  Do not demand that things go your own way; rather try to
persuade others by explaining major benefits to your family, your co-workers, or the company.

     While tolerance is bearing with the weaknesses of others, it is not overlooking bad behavior
or wrong actions.  We must have the courage to stand up for what is right and be intolerant of
injustice, loose morals, and any other form of wrong doing.  Sometimes “tough love” requires us
to allow someone to experience the consequences of their actions or work through a difficult
situation.  In any case, tolerance will not judge another but realize that God is not done working
on any of us yet.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at
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