Well, watching most Christmas movies is a good thing! But watching Rudolph can be an especially wonderful experience when you do it with your foster and adopted children! Why? Rudolph isn’t adopted. And he’s not a foster child either. But the struggles Rudolph endures are certainly relatable for foster and adopted children.
Rudolph’s red nose is a hard thing to hide. And he’s actually encouraged to hide it by those who care about him most. (Except for Clarice, of course!) Fictionally speaking, I don’t think Rudolph’s parents meant to shame him – their intentions were good! They were trying to protect him. But in the process Rudolph was made to feel embarrassed and ashamed of who he really was. Sometimes, unintentionally, when trying to protect our children we heap shame upon them. Watching Rudolph may give us (the parents) the open door to talk with our foster and adopted kids about how they are different. And in doing so we can humbly ask forgiveness for those ways we may have contributed to our children’s insecurities.
Rudolph discovers he’s got talent! And some of that talent stems from his obvious differences. Christmas would have been a bust that year if it weren’t for Rudolph’s shining red nose. The very thing that bothered him became the thing that was needed most. How does this relate to our children? We can ask ourselves, what trait does my child have that they may see as a hindrance, but is actually an asset? Helping our kids see that they are unique contributors, not just in our family, but also in school, church, and community, is a good conversation that can take place with Rudolph as our guide.
The Island of Misfit Toys is a sad place – at least for some. And who among us has never felt like we’re living the life of a misfit toy? This is especially true for children who have experienced loss of family either through adoption or while in foster care. Seeing that there is a true need for misfit toys and that they, like Rudolph, are valuable, can help our children see that there is nothing wrong with being different! Indeed, differences are what make us unique and valuable.
So this year, when you sit down as a family to enjoy the holiday season in front of the TV, consider popping some extra popcorn so that when the show is over, there’s time to discuss. There’s nothing quite so valuable as open expression amongst family members. Merry Christmas!