“Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” -Dr. Seuss
This post was sponsored by Fox Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation. They asked me and my family to take the Holiday Cheer Challenge and you can too. All it takes is two steps: Watch one of the classic Christmas movies found on iTunes, then share how you are spreading cheer this holiday season. Make sure to use the hashtag #DWAHolidayChallenge. Here is how we are taking the challenge…
Let’s face it, it’s hard to stand out. Whether you want to or not, standing apart from the crowd can be tough. I think in our core we want to be set apart, but only when it comes to praise and accolades. Inherently, people don’t want to be picked out for less glamorous notions, like hand-me-down clothes, unusual features, disabilities, setbacks, or even mistakes.
This year at our church they are celebrating different this Christmas. The entire slogan is literally “Celebrate Different.” At first I wasn’t quite sure what they meant, but after listening to our pastor I realized that is was really quite simple. Instead of bringing the wrong kind of attention to people who may be different from the “mainstream” or ignoring them all together, we need to celebrate our diversity and treat all people with kindness.
You may be asking: how do we do that? Or, how do we teach our children to do this? Well, here are a few of my suggestions that I have learned along the way…#AD Find out all about the #dwaholidaychallenge with @DWAnimation this Christmas season. Click To Tweet
First: Make it Simple. Depending on your children’s age, you want to make sure you keep explanations as simple as possible. We have a five and three year old, so when I am explaining how we treat everyone with kindness, I start with something as simple as: do you know what being kind means? We go over how to be kind: smiling at everyone we meet, saying hello to a new friend, letting someone else go first, sharing a toy, saying “I’m sorry,” giving a hug when a friend feels sad, etc…
It is so important to keep it as simple as possible. I’ve learned that asking questions tends to keep young kids engaged as well. Once I give a few examples of how to be kind, I ask them to add a few more ideas. This even gets them excited knowing they can accomplish a new task.
Second: Give Examples. This step is KEY!! Kids (and adults too) need to see examples of how we can celebrate our differences. I know it might sound cheesy, but the good old movie Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a PRIME example of someone who stood out from the crowd, was made fun of, and felt ashamed of the nose he had been given. I’ve seen this movie for decades and it still resonates all these years later. We too often jump to conclusions when someone is different from us, but just as Rudolph shows us, sometimes the very things that hold you down are the same things that can pick you up and even make you a hero.
I had the kids watch this movie, then we talked about how it would make us feel if someone made fun of us. We also discussed how we could make someone feel welcomed and loved if they were feeling left out. I shared with them that it is better to be yourself, no matter if that makes you stand alone because we are never really alone. Rudolph always knew he was different, but he let his light shine regardless of what others said about him, which is exactly the kind of lesson I want to reinforce with my children over and over again.
Third: Lead the Way. Now it is time to lead by example, to reinforce everything that we have taught our kids. Explaining and giving examples are good, but you need to put it all into action. Since our church just happens to be “celebrating different” it was pretty easy for me to get involved and lead by example. We volunteered at an event to help foster families have a wonderful Christmas. We made lots of yummy treats for the kids, learned a few things about the foster care system from an actual foster parent and even played with some of the children.
It was a wonderful life lesson proving that even when we may have different circumstances that seem to set us apart, we can celebrate those differences that bring us together and we can show love and kindness.
Even if you don’t have an opportunity to volunteer at a foster Christmas party, there are still many ways to celebrate different this holiday season. We are taking more sweet treats to neighbors, planning on singing at a retirement home and even doing little things like giving up the close parking spot at the mall!;)
Fourth: Keep it Going. Even after the trees have been taken down, the presents have all been played with, and you are starting on your New Year’s resolutions, make sure you don’t forget what that cute little reindeer with the red nose taught us. Let’s celebrate our differences, show a bit more kindness & compassion to others, and let our own lights shine bright through a dark night sky.
In partnership, Fox Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation are now asking you and your family to take the Holiday Cheer Challenge. It is a simple way to make a big difference, and all it takes is two steps: Watch one of the classic Christmas movies found on iTunes, then share how you are spreading cheer this holiday season. Make sure to use the hashtag #DWAHolidayChallenge.
“If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.” -Elaine Dalton