Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

What We Can Learn from Rudolph

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 1:22 pm on Monday, December 17, 2007

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer poster

From age two to ninety-two, we all know these fun lyrics:

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!

But, how many of us see the valuable lesson here?

Rudolph is teased and ostracized because he is different. He is excluded from reindeer games for the sole reason that his nose glows bright red. How heartbreaking is that?

In the classic Christmas special, a dejected Rudolph and his elf friend, mocked for his dream of becoming a dentist, head out to find a place of acceptance and happen across the Island of Misfit Toys; segregation at its finest.

It takes the fog to come down for the big guy (possibly the employer) Santa to realize the value in a bright, shiny nose. And that’s the point when Rudolph is duly recognized for his unique ability, giving us the Christmas story that we know and love.

But this story leaves me thinking about the other parts of the story – the bits that didn’t make it to the song. I am left wondering how many other reindeer before Rudolph were discarded because their unique ability or talent wasn’t valued. However, I am comforted in believing that discriminating practice will not be repeated when Rudolph and his reindeer friends retire and new flying reindeer are chosen to pull the sleigh. After all, believing everyone is welcomed and accepted is part of the magic of Christmas!

Rudolph teaches children young and old about the importance of valuing diversity and inclusion. Without this reindeer’s different coloured nose, Christmas was surely doomed to be cancelled that foggy night. With him, that lesson went down in history!

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Comment by Karla Meachem

December 17, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

Great perception Glenda; thanks for sharing!

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Comment by Shaping Youth

December 19, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

Glenda, this is fabulous, any chance we can run it as a guest editorial from you on Shaping Youth to attract some attention to your BFAY cause? It fits well with another post I’m working on re: a digital book called “Can I Sit With You?” all about being ‘different’ on the stormy social seas of the school playground…the special needs PTA has posted it on and it’s soaring off the charts! 🙂 Ping me on our FB page or e-mail…either way…solid insights that go far beyond seasonal…a year-round effort for ‘Shaping Youth’ always…Merry Christmas, and thanks so much for all you do.

p.s. Haven’t forgotten our interview, just am trying to carve some life/work balance somehow…sigh.

Comment by Linette

December 19, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

There are so many comics these days that belittle people, and make them look dumb. It’s great to revisit some of the lessons to be learned from some of the great classics.

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