“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups:
candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”
~ Buddy the Elf
Everyone has their favorite holiday movie. For some, like my fifth grade teacher, it’s A Christmas Story. For others, like my friend in Yuma, it’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. For even more, like my parents, It’s A Wonderful Life. However, for me, it’s Elf. “A fictional story about an adopted elf named Buddy, who was raised in the North Pole, went to New York, ate spaghetti, worked in a shiny mailroom, and eventually saved Christmas.” Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, have drank your first (and maybe last) cup of eggnog, or share “my affinity for elf culture”, there are four life lessons that we can learn from the movie Elf.
- Compliment the Small Stuff: “You did it! Congratulations! World’s Best Cup of Coffee. Great job, everybody.” Sometimes it is easy to overlook the little contributions that team members make every day. Routinely acknowledging an individual’s consistent positive attitude during stressful situations or immediately responding to student concerns are accomplishments worth highlighting. These simple acts may seem insignificant given the laundry list of daily tasks and strategic initiatives institutions strive to accomplish, but can make all the difference to the students your institutions serve and the other team members in the room. We tend to offer praise when big goals are achieved, but overlook the opportunities to reinforce the everyday performance that makes an institution run smoothly. This holiday season, make an effort to compliment team members on the small accomplishments too.
- Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: “Papa says my real father lives in a magical place far away…but the thing is, I’ve never left the North Pole.” Some of the greatest achievements and rewards were the result of individuals who were brave enough to step outside of their comfort zone. Routines are easy. Taking risks is hard. However, by pursuing the unknown and tackling our fears, we allow ourselves opportunities to learn and grow. We can fall into a trap of convincing ourselves that life could not get better, but we rarely stop to think about what if it does. We spend much of our lives limiting ourselves to what we think we know instead of reaching for opportunities to learn what we do not know. This holiday season, step outside of your comfort zone and embrace opportunities that allow you to grow.
- Share What You Learn with Others: “First, I traveled through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of twirly-swirly gumdrops, and then, I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.” We tend to hold what we learn as closely guarded secrets thinking this will give us an edge over others. The problem with this approach is that it gets lonely. We are social beings and our lives and experiences are meant to be shared. This is why educational opportunities are so important. Learning does not need to always occur in formal settings. We should be looking for opportunities everyday to share our knowledge with others to make their lives a little bit easier. This holiday season, seek out chances to share what you learn with others, but more importantly, take time to learn from them as well.
- Live the Life You Love: “First, we’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then, to finish, we’ll snuggle.” Life is all about choices. Our attitude is all about perspective. We can get caught up in thinking who we are or what we have is never good enough and some of that is motivation, but sometimes it is the lie we tell ourselves when we begin to settle. We have a chance every morning to face our day and the choices we make with a grateful heart. It is important to allow the little things in life to excite us, continue to see the magic that exists all around, and smile because “I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite.” This holiday season, take time to appreciate the life you have chosen to live and embrace the opportunities to smile.
Yes, Elf is a fictional story, but the lessons are very real. They are lessons that remind us to not take people for granted, spread a little more love, and above all, be yourself. The world needs a little more you and a lot less of who people think we should be. This holiday season, EduCred Services wishes you, your family, and friends a happy holiday season full of love, candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.