One of the most well-known Christmas songs, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” can teach us valuable lessons about disabilities and the power of being different.
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose!”
It was that very nose that made Rudolph both different and allowed him to successfully lead Santa to deliver his gifts despite during that foggy Christmas Eve. Rudolph is a great example of we can teach children about how being different, just like someone with a disability may be perceived as ‘different,’ can be a real strength!
“All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”
Like many people with disabilities who have a physical difference, Rudolph faced criticism and had to overcome many challenges by his peers. He did not feel like he fit in with the others. The other reindeer could not see the real value that Rudolph’s difference could provide. All they knew is that he didn’t look like any of them so they were hesitant to include him. How many of us with disabilities can relate? Often we have to show others that our disability does not make us any different and that’s just what Rudolph did!
“Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say: ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleight tonight?!’”
Santa recognized the strength in Rudolph’s red nose. Even though none of the other reindeer had a red nose, Santa recognized that Rudolph’s unique physical trait could offer his sleigh team something that the other reindeer could not. His difference was a gift that allowed Rudolph to become a leader, something that the other reindeer who had “normal” noses could not do!
“Then how the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history!”
If only everyone’s disability or difference was perceived as strength. Imagine what we could accomplish in our communities, in our jobs, or in our families. Often, however, people with disabilities must work hard at proving their strengths despite their physical challenges.
I think that perhaps the most valuable lesson that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer can teach us is to never judge a book by its cover. It’s what we all learned in kindergarten - it’s what’s on the inside that counts! No matter our disability, everyone has something positive to offer.
What’s your favorite Christmas season lesson about disability? Share in the comments!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.