By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
A man lavishes genuine affection upon his children, but his indifference, disregard, or open hostility for his spouse disheartens the children and frustrates the loving efforts of both parents. Can such a man be considered a nurturing father?
Similar is the case of the pedagogue who enjoys the classroom play, but mistreats his co-workers and superiors. Indeed, the classroom is the sanctuary of the students, but the school is their home. To create a truly nurturing environment, much effort is required outside the classroom. I have witnessed, thankfully only rarely, physicians who deride and offend their colleagues in the name of patient-care. A comprehensive understanding of patient-care mandates propriety even in the context of legitimate clinical disagreements. Squabbling physicians compromise patient-care in the present, and endanger the care of all subsequent shared patients.
Lasting friendships are borne from mutual toleration of idiosyncrasies. That is, a compassionately wise individual is able to humor the imperfections of others without a condescending pride. In truth, as many take its meaning, tolerance is a repulsive idea. If toleration is “putting-up” with others, then it stems from false pride and an assumption of one’s relative perfection. Such tolerance is not virtue. Ignorance is invisible to itself. All glass homes where souls seek shelter have defects. No one needs to be tolerated when everyone is respected.
This task is not difficult if we remain lifelong students of life. We are all ignorant about something, as so much remains to be learned from others. Such an outlook fosters respect of our colleagues, and then we look forward to going to work. A happier work environment facilitates the work of teaching.