Do you know the difference between tolerance and love?
As a society we are told to be tolerant. That's the mark of an educated person, supposedly. But tolerating a person is a far cry from really loving them. Tolerating is something most of us can do, after all, it's really nothing more than just putting up with something or someone. In fact, the first entry for “tolerance” in Merriam-Webster is “capacity to endure pain or hardship,” the further definitions relate to “allowances in deviations” from one’s own preferences. While that may be “noble”, it’s hardly a strong definition for “love”.
I don't want to teach tolerance in my home. That's not enough! As you know though, the most effective way to teach is modeling behavior.
Unfortunately, though, it seems that the idea of mere tolerance has crept into the parenting ideas of many families that I have seen....and at times even in my own home. I'm talking about just tolerating my children rather than really being an example of God's love to them.
How can I tell if I’m tolerating rather than really loving them? Do I sigh when they ask their many questions and need help with the little things? Or am I ready to feed their hungry minds and to serve them? Do I serve cheerfully or is it an obvious sense of duty? Do they know my sacrifice in being a mother by what they see or because I choose to remind them and everyone else anytime I get the chance? Am I constantly looking for “me time” to get away from everyone and to discover things on my own or am I looking for opportunities to share life and discoveries with my family?
These are a few questions to consider....that I have had to consider and revisit on a regular basis. I want to do more than “tolerate” these little blessings God has bestowed on me and I want them to sense it. My children are not a “hardship” to “endure”. If I ever start reacting in a way that says otherwise, I certainly need to take this to my Father.