Every morning, we watch TV as we have our coffee in bed. Most of the time, Fox News Channel is on. We also switch channels to catch the local weather report and check on traffic conditions around Central Florida. In case you're not familiar with Florida highways, the common saying around here is "It will be a nice state if they ever finish it." Road construction is continually ongoing. But, I digress.
One particular morning, the announcer told a story about a mental health professional who warned parents about letting their young children watch the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Christmas cartoons.
Apparently, some brilliant researcher (who, in my opinion, needs therapy) got the idea that children who are allowed to watch "Rudolph" can end up being bullies. When the other reindeer "used to laugh and call him names," they were being bullies. They wouldn't let Rudolph play games with them. The unsuspecting children watching the cartoon or singing the song might have some of that snarkiness rub off on them.
Now, having worked in a school for the greatest part of my life, I met quite a few bullies. Never did I stop and say, "That kid must have watched too much Rudolph." Blame my Pollyanna attitude, but I would never have associated bullying with a Christmas cartoon. Listening to Gene Autry and Burl Ives sing the "Rudolph" song made kids happy.
I find it curious that a mental health professional would zero in on Rudolph three weeks before Christmas. That song has been around for decades - since 1949. No one else ever intimated that the reindeer 'gang' might influence young children to be mean kids.
I've decided to counter-attack. I choose to think of the Rudolph story as a good example of using your talents wisely. When Rudolph's shiny red nose leads Santa's sleigh through the bad weather, he redeems himself in the eyes of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen. Perhaps after that Christmas Eve jaunt, those eight snarky reindeer will allow Rudolph to play games with them. If I were Rudolph, I'd find other playmates - maybe Frosty the Snowman and even the Grinch would be better.
If there are parents out there who will restrict their children from watching "Rudolph" this holiday season, it's a shame. Some other health professional should investigate the questionable health professional who started this ruckus. That dunderhead needs a reality check.
I would like to wish all the readers of this column a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2012. I plan to be surrounded by my grandchildren throughout the holiday and, YES! we will be watching "Rudolph."
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.