Events remind us that respect is key to tolerance

There are many things going on all around us that some find offensive and yet others find very acceptable and that's OK. We can and will have differences. It is those differences that make us strong and unique.

But there are big differences between offending actions and seeking to control everything you see, hear and want. You might be offended by hearing a prayer. So come to the meeting a few minutes late or close your eyes and listen to your iPod... you'll survive the experience. You might be offended that in this tiny hamlet of Tupper Lake a resort club and homes will be built, people will have jobs, storefronts will be a filled, and money will again flow through this once prominent community improving the quality of life for those who make this area their home... you'll survive if they build it, while many may not survive if it doesn't get built.

Last week I attended the Bullying Discussion hosted by MAPP. The discussion focused on bullying in our schools. We heard about local statistics, watched a video that featured a number of children around the country who have been bullied because of simple and meaningless differences. Some have even been driven to commit suicide. Like my friend in grade school or the elderly janitor who taught me much about people, I didn't have to agree with their beliefs or the things they did to accept them. Skin color, religious or political beliefs, mode of dress, color of your hair, where you choose to live or other life style choices ... there are plenty of days I shake my head at the actions of others who think and act differently than I, but, in the end, so long as they are doing no personal harm to anyone, I can respect their right to share this small world and enjoy the control, over their life choices, that I have the right to expect in my own life choices.

Dan Alexander is publisher and owner of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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