Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the animated TV special at least, will again delight audiences Tuesday night. First broadcast on CBS on Dec. 5, 1964, the special has been a hit for 50 years. Companies are lining up to give the reindeer who took gruff from the other reindeer his due. Hallmark, one of the advertisers, is selling commemorative ornaments featuring such favorites as Hermie the elf who really wants to be a dentist and Yukon Cornelius. To say the special took liberties with the original song is putting it mildly. And, in the spirit of the put-upon Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is encouraging parents and educators to use the classic story as an opportunity to start a conversation with their children about bullying.
“The story of Rudolph’s shiny red nose has taught generations of children the importance of accepting each other’s differences,” said Virginia Herz, daughter of Robert L. May – author of the original Rudolph story. “With the support of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, we’re able to share the power of this timeless message, reminding children today to celebrate the things that make each of them unique.” Nearly 1 in 3 students (27.8 percent) report being bullied during the school year, which is often sparked by differences like a child’s looks or body shape. Parents can address the issue of bullying with their children and the relatable story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer offers a creative way to facilitate a conversation about acceptance, respect and diversity, according to the organization. To help guide a discussion while watching Rudolph tomorrow night, parents and guardians are encouraged to download the ShineBright discussion and activity guide. Visit www.PACER.org/ShineBright to access a variety of tools, including discussion questions and an entertaining activity designed to help children talk about the qualities that make them special.