The Meaning of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

  • December 28th, 2015

This post is part of the Run & Reflection series – where I reflect on running, or a completely random topic. Or sometimes, a little bit of both.

Pretty often I wake up with random songs stuck in my head. And today I woke up with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Well, it’s Christmas time – and it’s a pretty damn catchy tune. While washing dishes this morning, I started to think myself, “What’s the point of this song? What’s the meaning?”

It’s funny because I’ve been listening, humming, and singing the Rudolph song since long before I could think critically.

I’m positive there was a Christmas recital in elementary school where we sang the Rudolph song. Yet I’ve never stopped once to think about what the hell I was actually singing. In this way, it’s sort of like the Pledge of Allegiance. I recited the pledge every day in school, long before I understood what most of the words meant. I didn’t know the definition of a pledge, or what allegiance was. It’s fascinating that we can go through life with routines without even knowing where they came from, or what they mean. That is pretty fascinating in itself, and perhaps worth a deeper look at another time. But back to Rudolph.

It’s fascinating that we can go through life with routines without even knowing where they came from, or what they mean.

Rudolph is about understanding how one’s unusual attributes, under other conditions, can be strengths.

And like in the case of Rudolph and Christmas Eve, sometimes they can be absolutely vital.

In the song, Rudolph has a very shiny nose. And we know that most reindeer’s noses however, are not very shiny. And for reindeer, what use is a shiny nose? In these type of social situations, it seems to be second nature to outcast people for any characteristic that isn’t perceived to be normal, or at the very least, of some utility.

And in normal situations for a reindeer, a shiny nose isn’t useful, nor it is normal. But we come to find out that under certain conditions (a foggy Christmas eve), his nose was vital. Rudolph saved Christmas!

So, I guess the lesson is, when it comes to someone’s unusual attributes, this: keep your mind open to the possibilities of how they can be thought of as strengths. Being “too short”, or “too tall”, or “too loud”, or “too quiet” are by no means universal weaknesses. For example, it might seem ludicrous when a supermodel claims they were teased for being “gangly” as a kid. But they probably were, despite now being thought of as the very height of beauty (pun intended) and laughing all the way to the bank.

The world is wide, and situations change. There are things about others and about yourself that will be ostracized in some places and under some conditions, and sought-after in others. You must “get in where you fit in”, as Too Short once proclaimed.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

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