The post below is by Lisa Smith, the mother of seven children, two with special needs. Lisa blogs about her experiences and can be found on Facebook at Quirks and Chaos or at quirks-and-chaos.blogspot.com. Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, every donation will be matched thanks to the Henry A. Quinn Foundation and your contribution will have double the impact!
My 14-year-old son, Tate, has autism. Tate loves movies. Tate’s favorite Holiday movie is “A Christmas Carol” based on the novel by Charles Dickens. There are so many versions of the movie, it is unbelievable to me.
In 1843 when Dickens wrote the novel, he could not have known how many generations it would touch. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future have shown many people what selfishness and selflessness can look like in the same man. We see the miserly Scrooge with no friends, living a miserable life at the beginning of the movie and a generous and happy man at the end of the movie, surrounded by friends and reunited with the family he had rejected.
I wonder how Dickens might have portrayed Scrooge differently if he were alive and writing the novel today?
Would the Scrooge at the beginning of the story wait in lines on Black Friday so he could save a few dollars on a television he had been wanting? Would he be pushing and shoving other customers and arguing loudly with clerks? Or would he avoid the crowds and shop online on Cyber Monday to get those deals? I imagine Scrooge would do neither, because he would rather save his money and do without.
I can easily imagine how a modern Scrooge would be portrayed on Giving Tuesday-- just as he was in the original novel. At the beginning of the story he would be holding tightly onto his money and at the end of the story he would be sharing generously with those around him.
And that brings us to Tiny Tim. How might Dickens have depicted Bob Cratchit’s youngest son in this day and age? I would like to think that the Tiny Tim of a modern day Christmas Carol would be on the spectrum.
“Why,” you ask?
It is simply because so many of us today would be able to relate to a young son with autism. One in 42 boys today have autism. The statistics are astonishing. A lot of us could also relate to Bob Cratchit, the parent of Tiny Tim. The Bob in Dicken’s novel is overwhelmed and unable himself to provide his young son with the things he needs. He’s working hard and doing everything he can but he just cannot do it alone. Bob needs the help of others.
In the end Scrooge learned that by helping others, he was blessed himself. The Scrooge at the end of the story is happy, giddy even. He stops the man on the street he had turned away the day before and tells him he will give generously to his cause. The new and improved Scrooge also makes sure Tiny Tim gets everything he needs to improve too. Tiny Tim’s, “God bless us everyone” is a powerful message.
Whether you fight the crowds on Black Friday, surf the web for deals on Cyber Monday, or do neither, please do not forget the most important day: Giving Tuesday. In the spirit of the Holiday Season, give back what you can. Autism Speaks is an excellent place to start, and not just at this time but throughout the year.
After the last spirit left Scrooge, the man promised, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Your gift, no matter the size, is so appreciated, now and throughout the year.