Tolerance means, to me, more than just some definition from the dictionary, such
as Webster's "A disposition to recognize the right of private judgment". After fully six
months of attempting to live with tolerance as the key stone of my religion, I have evolved
this definition: Tolerance is the sympathetic understanding of, and regard for another's
beliefs and opinions, customs, and environment. I say, "sympathetic understanding", for it
is my opinion that tolerance is possible only when a sincere attempt is made to understand
the other person and his trials. Just this part of the definition has come to mean a great
deal to me because absence of it wrecked the whole summer for a group of eight relatives
who were forced, by necessity to live together. But understanding is not sufficient; we
must treat another's beliefs and customs with respect. We must also interpret beliefs and
actions by means of environment. To understand any man's beliefs, opinions, or customs,
one should first know something about the environment in which these basic traits were
formed. Each person has a different background in life and it is very intolerant to judge
another's actions in the light on any but his own early life. So, while the definition of the
dictionary is very good, something is lacking until all the points mentioned above are
included in a meaning for the word "tolerance".

Dorris Willows
Section 1--10
October 18, 1933

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