Glow On

rudolph“Who even thinks that?” my mom asked with complete and utter confusion.
“I don’t think that conversation ever needs to be had. Ever.” she urged, flicking the blinker with an extra oomph, a hint of teenage “Ew!” lingering on her tongue.

“Mom, hear me out,” I said shooting up a little straighter.
“The reindeer are total assholes to Rudolph the whole time. The only reason they even like him is when Santa realizes that Rudolph has something that they need. “Then how the reindeer loved him?” Come on! Major teaching moment!!“

She threw me one more sideways glance, a curled lip and shook her head.

My mom was not jumping on board the sleigh ride of movie magic crushing. Not so much.

Do I plan on breaking this to my 3 1/2 year old anytime soon and crapping on the pure joy that Rudolph brings her on a daily basis? (Gotta love the holiday movie loop.) No! Of course not! By the time she’s 7? Yeah, probably.

We don’t want to see through the bells and whistles of it all. Most of the time, the bells and whistles are shiny and twinkly and make beautiful sounds. They can stay. The bells and whistles can definitely stay. That is, as long as we realize that more than not, they are pure distractions inhibiting us from thinking for ourselves, or thinking at all for that matter. I’d bet a dozen butter cookies and a pint of milk that at least one of those reindeer had some major GI issues from not trotting up and sticking up for Rudolph.

I want my kids to know that going to bat for someone, especially when that person is the odd man out, is one of the most courageous moves you can make. Not only do people remember that for the rest of their lives, but courage begets more courage! Joy to the freaking world! I want them to learn that it’s not cool to jump on board only when the ring leader says so. A true leader is one who sees strengths in everyone’s uniqueness and celebrates them (sorry, Santa). Having a mind of your own and standing up for yourself and others are hardcore, lifelong admirable qualities.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Rudolph. I love the movie, the song, Hermie, the elf turned dentist, the overall message. I really do. We all love the idea of receiving adulation and cheers in our honor, especially for the one dreadful disparity that makes us a “misfit” from the pack. Seeing the underdog rise? That’s incredible! What’s not incredible is that if we become swept up in the masses and don’t think for ourselves about who, what, or when we like or don’t like – then the reindeer shit will really hit the fan. We will become so lost in the woods that we won’t be able to find a way out for the life of us. Think for ourselves? Is that a new band?

So, this holiday season while we come together with family and friends, carrying in our old baggage and new, remember that we’re all misfits in one way or another. Share the love, not because someone else gave the go ahead, but simply because we all can use it. You may even make someone glow.

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