You May Find It Problematic, But Rudloph Changed My Life

You May See It As Problematic, But Rudolph Changed My Life

Don't take away the most impactful story from my childhood just because you don't like what it says.

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Growing up, my absolute favorite Christmas tale and song was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I collected stuffed animals of Rudolph, got the Build-a-Bear, had a collection of the ornaments, and incessantly watched the VCR tape over and over until I'm sure my parents were completely done with it. So when I was scrolling through social media at the beginning of December, trying to get myself in the Christmas spirit, I was completely stunned by the fact that there was a social media campaign to keep radio stations from playing the song and CBS from airing the Christmas classic.

Apparently, people want to cancel this part of the Christmas tradition because of the messages they interpret within the tale, from a sexist characterization of Clarice to the bullying of Rudolph by the other reindeer to Blitzen trying to cover up Rudolph's shiny nose because it was different. As a kid, I never considered any of these readings when I was watching the movie, and as an adult today (and a communication and media major) I still don't see a lot of credibility in some of these arguments. But if I've learned anything as a Comm major, everyone is going to read a media text in his or her own way.

But as a kid, when I saw Rudolph, I saw someone who was different overcome the criticism that he got for being different. I saw a young reindeer who no one thought was good enough being given an opportunity to lead and be great, to be a hero. I saw an elf who didn't want to play by the rules and make toys just because it was the "normal" thing to do dare to be different and follow his dream of being a dentist. I saw an outcast snow-monster, cast out from society and misunderstood, be welcomed into a community to celebrate Christmas. I saw parents learn to accept their son for what he was, despite his physical oddities. I saw an island full of misfit toys learn to embrace their oddities, learn that they weren't made wrong, just made to be themselves. From Rudolph, I learned that I could be anything, overcome any difference, and follow my dreams.

And sure, not everyone is going to read this song this way. The claymation is dated, the song is old, and even some of the animated movies are well over a decade old. Some messages change with time. Some things are read differently over time. But you don't have the right assume that kids are going to read a story negatively just because you do as an adult. I can't guarantee they'll read it positively either. But we have to have faith in our kids that they can make a meaning from a text that will be impactful for them.

They are the ones that get to find themselves in the story. Sure, there is some bullying in the story. The other reindeer wouldn't let him play in their reindeer games after all. But exclusion is, unfortunately, a real problem that children will face in life. Shielding it from them in a claymation reindeer cartoon isn't going to keep it from happening to them in the real world. But giving a kid a chance to see themselves in Rudolph, to see themselves overcome exclusion and make new friends, could make all the difference.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.

Lswitka
Lswitka
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The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!

Lswitka
Lswitka

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