Love Over Tolerance

Tolerance. Every time I hear that word directed at a child, an adult, a group of people, or any person at all, I cringe. People do not want to be tolerated. You yourself do not want to be tolerated. You tolerate slow traffic, Monday mornings, or the long line at the grocery store, but you do not tolerate people. People want to be loved. You want to be loved. People want to know they matter and that others care about them. Our ability to love and our desire to be loved is what makes us human. It’s at the core of humanity. Why would anyone purposely choose to withhold that from another?

Every day we come across people that do things that annoy us, we don’t agree with, or that make us uncomfortable. It’s the beauty of the diversity of the human race. We can choose to love those people in spite of those things, we can merely tolerate them, or we can do things far worse. It’s when people make a choice other than love, that I remember that humanity is flawed. We are imperfect. But if you think about it, perhaps that is what makes the decision to love all that more powerful. When the choice is made to withhold the thing we long for so deeply from others, I see a missed opportunity. The chance to love presented itself, but was not taken.

I truly believe with all my heart that love is not merely a feeling, but also a choice. We can choose those we give our love to or we can choose to keep it to ourselves. However, when I look at myself and see my own desire for acceptance, care, and unconditional love, I don’t understand why I would sometimes choose to keep my love from anyone. Loving others isn’t always easy, but when we see it as choice, we give ourselves to power love anyway. I’m giving myself the power to love anyway.

I am going to make the decision to love everyone. Unconditionally. You should too.

photo: mhauri (Flickr, Creative Commons)


About Timothy Gwynn

Tim is an Instructional Technology Facilitator in North Carolina by way of Arizona. His transcontinental experience gives him the unique ability to not only appreciate a well made glass of sweet tea, but also spell the plural form of cactus without hesitation. He currently works at a K-5 school and is passionate about Educational Technology. Tweet him at @tgwynn.
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10 Responses to Love Over Tolerance

  1. Justin says:

    What a great post!

    I would only add that true love is wanting what is best for another. This may mean withholding something from another, waiting till later for something, or giving up something myself.
    If I offer something good to another, when the best is available, even at a costly price, I do not love.

    • Justin, Thank you so much. I love what you are saying about the things we sometimes have to do to love another and it may include self-sacrifice. However, I struggle with the last line. It gets complicated when we try and define what is the “best.” Who gets to make that claim? And what if that person is wrong? I would hate to withhold something from someone because I mistakenly thought something else was better for them.

  2. raven362 says:

    Tim…I am just now getting around to catching up on my online reading. It has been a busy May, a sentiment that I am sure most teachers can relate to. I have to say this post has been a very powerful reminder for me, and I can’t thank you enough for posting it. Without straying to far from “love” I will say that you have helped me clean the “grime” off my glasses while viewing some of colleagues actions as of late….thanks again – Gina from Omaha

    • Gina, thanks so much. This post was a reminder to myself most of all. It is so easy to forget to choose love and it is something I have to make a effort to do constantly. I do not always succeed, but I am trying.

  3. hilarie malmberg says:

    My two new favorite books: TEACHING WITH FIRE (a book of poetry for teachers) and WONDER, by R.J. Palacio, about the very thing you write about. Here is a quote from the school graduation address: “What a marvelous line…Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. Why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness. How is that measured?….Int’s not exactly quantifiable, is it?…If every single person …made it a rule that you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary–the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you the face of God.”

    • Hilarie, You are the second person to recommend Teaching With Fire to me. I have read excerpt, but now I’m inspired to get the book and read the entire thing. I also will check out Wonder as well.

  4. Mrs4444 says:

    Alright. I mean this sincerely when I say that next week, when a particular student treats me horribly, I’m just going to love her. I’m sure it will help (me, as well as her).

    • Mrs. Fours, I have had several students that make me want to walk out and quit with the ways they treated me. However, in my experience, those are the students that needed my unconditional love the most. I chose to love those students in spite of what they said or did to me. I’m glad I did. I’ve been fortunate enough to talk with one of those students years later and he ran right up to me and gave me a hug. My love eventually got to him, it just took some time.

  5. You are brilliant and I’m so proud to be your friend.

  6. Brent says:

    Great post bro! This definitely has me reflecting about all aspects of my life and the love I share. I recall when I worked as principal in North Omaha at a predominantly African-American boys school how many of them tested my patience to love them, but I felt that I must love them. They needed me more than anything day in and day out, I could not choose to not love them because for many of them I was all they had. I can remember how stressful this would be for me because of the hardships we sometimes endured. Wonderful post and reminder, even if it was intentionally for yourself.

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