I love The Grinch. Every year while decorating the tree, I watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It puts me in a Christmas-y, happy mood. I even made Grinch pancakes this year!
I can’t tell you one exact reason why. Could be the songs that drew me in as a child or the whimsical rhyming words and phrases. Whatever it is, I know I’m not alone.
It’s funny to think that the love we all share for this furry, green creature would not exist were he real. He is, after all, mean, sneaky, conniving…an all around jerk.
We all have real people like this in our lives and we want those people as far away from us as possible. So what is it about the Grinch that makes us happy?
The story overall is one that conveys a world in which we all want to live; one in which we are all loving, cooperative, empathetic beings.
These are lessons from the Grinch that, if we choose to learn from them, can change our world.
Be sure to download the free printable that goes along with this post at the end of the post!
The Grinch experiences a profound, magical change. But he doesn’t do it alone.
The message is clear; people can change. No matter how disgusting they may seem, they can change. But in order to do so, they need help from others.
Not in the form of lecturing and berating, but to be shown by example. To be shown kindness and understanding.
The change that the Grinch undergoes gives people hope. Hope that the bad things and people in the world can be better. Hope that given the right circumstances, things can change.
That hope is important to believe in. Ultimately, I think this is the greatest reason that the story has stood the test of time. Why it gives us all the warm, fuzzy feelings.
The Whos further this hope by showing us the warmer side of human nature that we rarely see, especially in response to someone so heinous. Instead of fearing, or hunting down the Grinch, they simply live with him, and don’t worry about him causing them trouble.
When he does start trouble by stealing their holiday, how do they respond? By continuing to live the way they always have.
Positivity in the wake of negativity.
Light and joy out of anger and darkness.
Some things will never change. But that’s okay.
Now, I’m not saying everyone and everything can change. I’m a realist. There are some things in this world that will never be better. There is some hatred in our humanity that just will not change.
But it’s part of our world and something we have to live with. Between the Grinch and the Whos, we have two powerful things to hold on to.
- There is bad in the world, but it can change.
- When it can’t change, accept it. Love and live along side it, don’t let it destroy you.
Overall, these lessons from the Grinch provide a sort of guide to being the more loving, cooperative, happy society we wish to be. To paraphrase Ghandi, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
If we all adopt the lessons from the Grinch, we can improve our society and change our world. So, what can we learn from The Grinch?
What the Grinch Teaches Us
1. Care more for people than things.
Our society has gone the opposite direction on this one. The importance of people, family, and friends, has taken a nose-dive. We value what can be bought. We need to adopt the attitude of the Whos whose Christmas had been stolen and celebrate life itself and the people in it. Not the things we fill it up with.
2. Show compassion and empathy to even unsavory creatures and situations.
The Grinch is an unsavory creature for sure. There is virtually nothing to like about him. However, that didn’t stop the Whos from welcoming him into their lives with open arms. They knew he was a bad character in the past, but they empathized with him and had compassion for him.
How much better of a world could we live in if we chose not to hold grudges? If instead of getting mad or upset, we try to understand what might be going through the other persons mind?
So many times, what might just be a bad day or a misunderstanding gets blown out of proportion. Often it ends with people not liking each other, not getting along, or being unable to work together. But if we all take a little extra time to understand and show compassion, it can make everything run so much more smoothly.
3. Respect one another’s cultures and traditions.
I get that the Grinch had an axe to grind. He didn’t celebrate Christmas, he wasn’t part of the community, and their joy drove him crazy.
Fortunately for us, we don’t live in quite those extreme of circumstances. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t accept, and treasure, various cultures and traditions within our community. One tradition doesn’t kill another.
It doesn’t make my Christmas less important or special if my neighbor outwardly celebrates Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. We should all be tolerant and accepting of everyone celebrating their own things in their own way, even on “our turf.”
What a waste of time it is being angry because someone else is celebrating something I don’t believe in.
4. Share your joy-not your hatred.
People like to complain. We tell everyone we know when we have bad customer service, but when we have great customer service, we rarely tell anyone. Why?
The Whos all experienced a devastating sight when they awoke Christmas morning. However, rather than everyone gathering in the town square to complain and cry about it, they celebrated what they did have. They shared their joy with each other, not their sorrow.
They didn’t complain. There was no lighting of pitchforks to trudge up to the Grinch’s home. There was also no throwing of blame. Can you imagine how much happier our homes and workplaces would all be if we let the bad things die off and spread the good instead?
5. View humanity through the eyes of a child.
Too often, we forget what life looked like when we were children. Through the eyes of a child, the world is a lot more bright and innocent. We learn a lot as we grow up and some of it isn’t for the best.
We learn to be judgmental, condescending, arrogant, narcissistic, and self-serving. Children are not naturally this way. It’s time to bring back some of that child-like wonder and innocence and view the world for what it is, and could be, instead of letting our fears and insecurities rule our lives.
Cindy Lou Who didn’t question the Grinch. She didn’t fear him, she trusted that he was not their to harm her and believed his story. She was wrong. And sometimes we will be too.
However, she was no worse off for having been wrong. What is the worst that can happen from believing the best in people and giving the benefit of the doubt? You might get let down, but you might not.
Of course, their are situations in which this could be dangerous, and we should use our best judgment. But there are a lot of times when we let the fear and disbelief control our actions when it really isn’t necessary.
6. Welcome others, regardless of differences.
We rarely accept others with vast differences, unless we understand them. There are some differences that many of us have grown to understand. But there are still so many that we don’t, or that some people don’t.
Rather than tearing each other down and fearing those differences, we should embrace them and let go of the fear.
Despite their differences, the Whos welcome the Grinch into their festivities, their homes, and their lives. Of course, they may or may not know that he’s the individual who caused all the Christmas trouble to begin with, but that’s not really the point with this one.
He is very different from them. He is three times their height, furry and green, and doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It didn’t matter to them. If he was willing to change and wanted to be a part of their lives, they were more than happy to bring him in and accept him.
6 lessons from The Grinch that can change our world
As we move into the next year, I have a challenge for you. Try to adopt these 6 lessons in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and work them into your own life. Let’s all allow our hearts to grow three sizes next year and spread more love and joy in our world.
Prize your loved ones, not your possessions.
Practice respect, compassion, and empathy. Even when you’re inclined to think they don’t deserve it.
Spread your joy, as far and as wide as possible.
Finally, remember what a magical place the world was when you were a child. Find that magic and whimsy again and bring it back.
I plan to remember these lessons from the Grinch and work what I’ve learned from them into my own life this year. I hope that you will, too. Let’s change our world for the better, one Grinch at a time.
How do you plan to adopt these lessons from The Grinch and work them into your life in the coming year? Do you think it will make a difference? Let me know below!
-To your Better Life-