Yes, I'm going to pick on Rudolph today. I enjoy singing this song. I enjoy watching the cartoon--truly a classic song and classic show. A classic story of the unwanted and different being picked on and driven away. By leaving he learns about sacrifice. At one point in the cartoon, he tries to save his friends by going it alone. Yet in the end the thing that caused him to be shunned is the very thing everyone needed. Everyone has a change of heart and happiness abounds. So maybe I've seen the movie too many times and it blends in with the song... Anyway.
As fun as the story is, I get bothered by the image of Rudolph being picked on and forced to the outside of the group. Probably because I have never felt like an insider. Growing up I questioned where I belonged. I didn't seem to fit in. I experienced being bullied from third grade on through high school. Did it make me "stronger"? Did it "toughen me up" and "teach me life lessons"? NO!--I felt powerless. I felt depressed. felt like an outsider. I was like Rudolph, but I couldn't run away to the island of misfit toys and not go to school. I was stuck.
There is a lot of talk these days about bullying. Children are taught how to deal with bullies. There are a number of anti-bullying curriculums available. And what happens when the bullying is from the leaders? How do children feel when the adults in their lives turn a blind eye and give silent consent to bullying? t's really cool in Rudolph that the other reindeer and Santa have a change of heart (possibly due to necessity). But what if Rudolph chose not to save the day? Could anyone have blamed him? Were there any bad consequences to the poor reindeer and elfin behavior? Where were the adults to stand up for Rudolph?
Three last thoughts on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. One--take a stand for those that are prone to be picked on. Don't bully and don't let bullies win. Two--don't discount someone because of their abilities or background. At Christmas, I am reminded that the savior I follow was born in a stable surrounded by animals. Instead of baby powder, he smelled of straw and dirt. Third--if you struggle with a blinking red nose, or maybe depression or acne or a differing ability, you can accomplish something that no-one else can? Trust me, you are loved and there is a plan for you. You matter! Don't believe the bully reindeer. You do belong