I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance
This weekend, I had yet another experience with a family member in which my son's behavior was absolutely not tolerated... leading to the swift ending of our time together (yes, for the rest of my kids and me as well). I held back tears, just barely, in the moment while I got everyone ready to go as fast as humanly possible, feeling very much kicked out. OK: we were kicked out. There's no two ways about it. I kept wanting to cry for hours later, and would remember why only belatedly. This sticks with me.
I won't get into the details, but especially after passionately reading this article about how zero-tolerance policies have helped lead to our exploitative, cruel, racist and classist prison system -- and after having suffered much painful familial isolation from a variety of in-laws and my own flesh and blood -- I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies. Even if behavior is intolerable, the people who deliver the behavior should be tolerated. Especially if we say we love them. (And why do people feel the need to say "I love you" while they're telling you they don't want be around you? Is that love? Isn't unconditional love... unconditional???)
I know many impartial observers might see this from a different light. But if a child -- or even an adult -- has a short outburst of socially unacceptable behavior following a period of sweetness, kindness and helpfulness, I feel that forgiveness and not "I will NOT allow that in my HOUSE get out now!" is in order. Honestly, I've seen a lot more patience to adult bad behavior than I have to my own child's; and this hurts deep, long and lasting. It's led me, at least, to evaluate my own responses to others' behavior, and to see the context and the intentions and the reasons first and put my foot down second (or never).
Is there anything you're zero tolerance about? Or have zero tolerance policies put your family and friends into black, hurting places? Do you think there is any place for zero tolerance in a loving social group?