We continue our holiday hero series with one of the most recognizable bullies in history, the Grinch. Dr. Seuss’ famous tale begins with setting the stage of Who-ville, the merriment of Christmas, and the Grinch’s disdain for it all.
"Every Who Down in Who-ville Liked Christmas a lot... But the Grinch,Who lived just north of Who-ville, Did NOT! The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, May have been that his heart was two sizes too small. Whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos, Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown, At the warm lighted windows below in their town."
The Grinch went on to steal Christmas from the village. He stole all of the presents, decorations, and food from every last house in Who-ville. There are four main ways bullying takes place and often happens repeatedly. These include physical, emotional, relational bullying, and cyberbullying. In this instance, the Grinch displayed an act of emotional and physical bullying by taking the belongings of others and stealing from the townspeople.
What makes this story interesting is that the Grinch was not just targeting one person but an entire village. If he had been targeting the Who-ville residents based on their race, religion, gender, or disability that would have been labeled as harassment. This would have been very bad news for the Grinch for there are serious repercussions targeting marginalized groups. Sadly, we think the Grinch was just lonely living on top of the hill in his isolated cave. It must have been difficult for him to listen to the townspeople laughing, singing, and celebrating when he didn’t feel included. Like many bullies, they act out because they themselves are victims of bullying or are feeling neglected. As the famous saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.”
Fortunately, the townspeople of Who-ville must have gone through the No Bully Solutions team training! We imagine that Little CindyLou, a witness to the Grinch’s crimes, convened a group of peers to talk about the perpetrator. Through their team efforts they came up with solutions of how to make inroads with the Grinch using empathy and compassion, instead of punitive measures. The plan must have been to welcome the Grinch with open arms on Christmas Day, which ultimately made the Grinch’s heart grow three times larger. "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" And what happened then? Well...in Who-ville they say, That the Grinch's small heart Grew three sizes that day! And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight, He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light, And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast! And he, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch carved the roast beast!"
What a wonderful story of how even a bully can turn it around and choose kindness in the end. Please consider helping our cause this holiday season so more kids like CindyLou can feel safe in their communities and more bully’s can turn to empathy and compassion instead of hate.
All images copyright of 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas ©.' Seuss. Random House, 1957.