Learning from Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

We all know the song:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
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 how all the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nose Reindeer
You'll go down in history

(You were singing in your head as you read the words, weren’t you?)

The story of Rudolph was originally published in 1939, in a booklet written by Robert L. May for the department store, Montgomery Ward. Ten years later, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, adapted the story into a song, and it was recorded by cowboy singer, Gene Autry, and the song became a huge radio hit, selling 2.5 million copies the first year and is still considered one of the best-selling holiday songs in history.  In 1964, Rankin/Bass adapted the tale into a stop-motion Christmas special, that altered and augmented the story, but because a holiday classic.

It’s easy to dismiss this merely as a cute children’s holiday ditty.
But listen to the words.
Look at the characters.
It’s a story about someone who’s not like those around him. It's about the varied responses to this distinction. 
There’s a lesson in there...for all of us...on how we can respond when confronted with our differences.

Don’t be like “all of the other reindeer.”
Obviously, the new guy’s nose was noticeable. I mean, it glowed
Sure, they could take the time to get to know him, but...that nose. And apparently, that’s all they could see. That’s all they chose to see! It blinded them to any other qualities, skills or abilities he might have. What could he contribute?

Maybe there were places that could help him cover up, tone down or suppress that conspicuous variation. Perhaps if Rudolph could hide his prominent nose, exert some effort to make it less...evident, “all of the other reindeer” might accept him. 

But it was embarrassing to be seen with him. 
He was just too different. 

And because of that, they didn’t want to associate with him. 
They were mean.
They made fun of him.
They excluded and rejected him.
They were bullies!

Emulate Santa.
Santa saw Rudolph...and also his shiny red nose. 
There was no way to ignore it. I mean, it glows!
Besides, pretending it wasn’t there would be demeaning and dishonest; it would diminish the wonder of that unique endowment. It was part of Rudolph, in the same way as the color of his fur or the place he was born.

A shiny red nose?
That glows in the dark?

Santa saw the potential of this reindeer. He decided to welcome Rudolph, to include him, and to employ him in the established team of reindeer. St. Nick knew that remarkable crimson proboscis made Rudolph uniquely qualified for a task “all of the other reindeer” were incapable of performing.

And he was right! 
The task that needed to be done...which had been in jeopardy...was accomplished. And it could not have been done without Rudolph!
Many benefited from Santa’s choice to ignore the majority and embrace Rudolph, nose and all!

Be Rudolph!
You are different.
It’s how you were born.

Yes, it might make you stand out, or call attention to you. While you didn’t have a choice about that unique aspect of your life, you have a choice in how you live your life in relation to it.

Shut out the noise of the detractors. Ignore the critics. Don’t let them define you and don’t permit them to change you.

Let “all of the other reindeer” play their games. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe they won’t. But playing their games, by their rules, pretending to be “one of them” will not make you a winner!

You are unique.
You are matchless.
You are exceptional.
You. Are. SPECIAL!

You get to write your own history.

Be who you are.
Be who you were created to be.

Important tasks will not get done without the irreplaceable you.
The world would be a darker place without the inimitable you.

Let your light shine.
Shine on, Rudolph!