Monday, December 6, 2010

The Island of Misfit Toys

As a child, one of my favourite Christmas animated movie was the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

I have always had a soft spot for Rudolph. I guess I could relate to him. I too was "different" from the other kids. I had two strikes against me. I was overweight and I was a nerd. I tried to fit in. I really did. But tried as I might, I always was an outcast.

Like me, Rudolph was teased and even ridiculed. After a while Rudolph started to believe that he was not as good as the other reindeers. He stopped trying to fit in and decided to leave his birthplace in search of a place where he would really belong.

Along the way, Rudolph meets a Christmas elf named Hermey who, like Rudolph, is a misfit. Hermey is not well liked by other elves because he would rather be a dentist than a toymaker. They decide to travel together accompanied by a prospector named Yukon Cornelius. On their journey, they come upon the Island of the Misfit Toys, a dumping ground for all the toys that are unloved because they are not up to standards. Some of the Misfit Toys are a "Charlie-in-the-box" (rather than a Jack-in-the-box) a spotted elephant, a train with square wheels, a bird that doesn't fly (but swims), a cowboy who rides an ostrich and a boat that sinks.

On the Island of Misfit Toys, Rudolph's difference is the one thing that allows him to belong. Everyone on that island stands out from the crowd. They are unified by their differences.

It took a wise old soul; Santa Claus himself, to recognize that Rudolph's difference was actually a blessing. On a stormy Christmas Eve night, Rudolph's red nose led the way. In that instant Rudolph's difference became his best asset.

As a child, I longed for someone to appreciate my differences. I longed for a place where I could belong, like the Island of Misfit Toys. Eventually, I found that place but first, I had to accept my differences.

I think that we have all experienced a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer moment in our lives. For some, the "moment" lasted longer than for others. Be proud of your differences, your own personal "Santa" is waiting to recognize you and celebrate your uniqueness.

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