I think many of us fear the lack of tolerance we may get from others that we meet. It’s very uncomfortable when you say something that you have been brought up to believe is a genuine and friendly thing to say – but you find someone jumps at you angrily and disagrees. I am sure you can think of examples.
In FAN Meetings we are often learning to be tolerant. We soon see that if we answer or disagree too quickly without thinking first – we may hurt another person or say something we regret.
Across the world people are showing anger – a lot of it on social media. Some of their angry feelings come because they think that life is unfair or people don’t understand or because they think something is happening which is wrong. We need people to say what they think and feel – but to learn to do it carefully. How many of us have argued with someone only to realise that the person they are speaking too has a good point or knows more about the subject than they do.
I think I have learnt most in the last few years from gentle, tolerant people who come to FAN Group Meetings.
- “Tolerance is accepting differences in other people. It is thinking ‘It is OK that you are different from me.'” Cynthia Amoroso , Tolerance (Values to Live By)
I have never heard anyone in FAN who wants something completely different from everyone else. We agree that everyone wants to be liked by other people. All of us want to be free from fear. We all want somewhere to live where we can be comfortable and to have enough food to eat for ourselves and our families. We like it when we trust others and when we know they will be sympathetic if life is difficult. People in FAN have often said that sometimes the smallest act of kindness helps them to keep going. A sympathetic face, a smile, an offer to listen or to help. Anyone who does this when we need it lifts our spirits so that we feel like going on and can then pass on that kindness to another. Many people in FAN Meetings say…
‘I always feel better after I have been to a FAN Meeting. ‘ I know I think the same! If I think on a cold, wet day – ‘I don’t think I’ll bother to go to FAN Group today.’ Then I feel sorry later. So I hope we can all keep coming when we are able to and tell others so they can benefit from being part of the community.
The FAN logo is a yellow and blue fan – and it has a map of the world on it! This is because we thought it would help us to remember we want to see FAN Groups spreading out across Wales and the UK and then in other countries of the world so that anyone one day could visit a country where they know nobody – and ask ‘Where is the nearest FAN Group please?’ And if there was one to go to they would be sure of meeting a friendly face.
What do you think you have gained from coming?