Some invaluable lessons (from some unlikely sources)

It’s that time of year when the holidays are upon us in full force. With the celebrations of Hanukkah starting last week and the arrival of Christmas and Kwanzaa in a bit under two weeks, the season is in full swing. It’s during this time of the year when many people find themselves taking moments to reflect on the year and what they found important, meaningful, challenging or inspiring. Certain experiences, teachings and life lessons are frequently pondered during the holiday season as people recount what they’re grateful for, things they’d like to learn, and notions they are still trying to grapple with. It’s funny to admit but during this time of year especially there are some very invaluable lessons that can be considered and reflected upon from influences around us. Granted most of these influences may be in the form of animated figures and storytellers, but their lessons are still valid and appreciated as guideposts of direction and conscience.

Take for example the beloved, though mostly outcast, Charlie Brown Peanuts character. Even though his actions of choosing an at first glance unattractive looking Christmas tree to use as a prop for his friend’s Christmas play were ridiculed and contested, in the end it gave way to a most memorable and impactful speech explaining the true meaning of the holiday and what ‘Christmas is all about.’

Lesson: It’s the meaning of the season and why it’s celebrated that matters most, not material items or commercialism.

Another recognizable figure during this time is Dr. Seuss’ the Grinch character. Now he had the most learning to do of all – with his heart two sizes too small. Again he thought the season was just about material possessions and how much the Who’s had. It angered him to see how they reveled in the holiday celebration and thought that by taking away their belongings this would dampen their spirit. But the Who’s blatant joy and celebration despite their loss taught the Grinch more, of course, that ‘perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store.’

Lesson: The holidays are a time for appreciating who and what you have in your life that brings you happiness and realizing what you’re grateful for, and being together, even perhaps singing a little ‘Fahoo-dores.’  

And lastly, perhaps one of the most influential, historical characters during this time of year? Why yes, it’s Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge himself, the feisty curmudgeon who could really suck the spirit out of the holiday season – if you let him. Scrooge’s memorable and extraordinary tale of being visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve really captures multiple lessons of the season. By redeeming himself and changing his ways by the end of the tale, which we can only hope continued even after the story ended, he was able to ‘keep the spirit of Christmas close to his heart’ and celebrate all year through.

Lessons: Think and consider those who are less fortunate than you, and when able, spread prosperity (in any form) to others. Think about your actions – they can affect others too, not just yourself. Gratitude and appreciation can go a long way. Keep the meaning and spirit of the holidays close to you always.

Now not everyone may recognize or know these characters mentioned above, but the message remains the same. No matter what time of year, you deserve to think about what’s important to you, what you enjoy, and how these things influence your day to day. Values and lessons are important to consider—not only during the holiday season, but the whole year through.

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  • Teresa Gonzales says:

    Hi, I am helping a friend with MS by taking her to doctor visits. I virtually know nothing about MS but am pretty worried about what I am seeing. She was diagnosed with MS at @16, she is currently mid-30’s, she has a 10 year old daughter who is terrified. Up until three years or so ago, she had occasional flare-ups, but for the most part functioned fully and recovered quickly. Three years ago she started falling down, A LOT. Today, she is in a wheel chair, very uncontrolled arm movement mostly left side, legs pretty stiff, feet turned in, double vision right eye, difficulty speaking and breathing. I’d say 8.5 EDSS. She is on long term health care. The doctor She just started seeing said she has little nerve damage. At the last visit, I noticed she had no reaction to reflex test at knee on either leg. Her blood pressure was also 94/88. She is going to a neurologist, but we are in a fairly rural area. I don’t know if she has ever been seen by anyone trained in MS related areas. Do you have any recommendations on how I can figure out the best course of action for her. There is a Mayo clinic a few hours from here. If this is not the proper place to address this, I apologize, I am unsure of where to seek information. Thank you.

    • Angel says:

      Hi Teresa, thank you for reaching out to our group. I’m very sorry to hear of the challenges your friend is experiencing with her health symptoms. MS symptoms can vary in type and severity at times and can be very unique to each person experiencing them. There are several types of symptom management therapies and medications that are used to try and reduce the symptoms seen in MS, https://mymsaa.org/about-ms/symptoms/, if/when appropriate. If your friend has access to see a specialist, it may be helpful for her to seek out a second opinion from an MS neurology specialist at this time for her healthcare. They may be able to provide further clarification of her case and possible treatment recommendations for her specific MS care needs. For more information please feel free to contact our Helpline at phone 1-800-532-7667, ext. 154. Thank you and take care.

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