Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most recognized characters in all literature. He is indeed a role model for what is normally considered cantankerous, indifferent beliefs and behavior toward most things. His name is often used as a descriptor for people who are seen as derisive and unpleasant to be around. So, am I really suggesting that Scrooge is a role model to be emulated? I am!
As Charles Dickens portrays Scrooge throughout his famous book, A Christmas Carol, he is all those things that we associate with a person who is, in fact, a lonely, unhappy, mean and disliked, albeit a successful businessman. Dickens gives many examples of why and how Scrooge earned his reputation as someone who is without friends or family. Without going into a detailed analysis of why and how Scrooge got that way, I will offer a short version of why he deserves to be seen as a deserving role model of all of us.
Scrooge’s character, like almost everyone, is driven by the inward mindset that has developed over years of experiences and emotions that dictate our outward behavior. We meet him initially as an old man. Dickens then takes us through his youthful, developmental years which were filled with both happy and sad experiences, like most of us. We meet the love of his life, Belle, some of his young friends; we feel the sorrow and disappointments he had.
Then, Dickens brings Scrooge the famous visitations of the three spirits of Christmas. When he retires to bed on Christmas he is awakened by three ghosts who take him on an incredible journey through those developmental years. This crusty, lonely old man is made to see those events in a different way. We get a clearer understanding of why “Bah Humbug” represented Scrooge’s attitude and response to almost everything. We begin to understand the mindset he has formed and given us this sad and crusty old man. We get a clearer view of why his very name has become an easy moniker to ascribe to anyone who displays the sort of attitude and behavior of Ebenezer Scrooge.
But wait, there’s more! Remember the end of the story. What happens to Scrooge? He becomes one of the most loved and respected men in the town. He celebrates the Christmas holiday with cheer and good will toward everyone he meets. Such a change is deserving of a second reading of the story or a viewing of the movie. Once his mindset about life and Christmas was changed, his entire life changed. Despite his age and his “Bah Humbug” attitude, Ebenezer Scrooge stands as a role model for all of us who seem lost and angry at the world. Each of us has the opportunity to be visited by Spirits of pause, reflection, and reinterpretation of our life’s experiences. Each of us has the ability to change our inward mindset and beliefs that shape our outward behavior toward both ourselves and others.
Take this moment to quietly think about the experiences and emotions of your life to this moment that dictate how you approach and communicate with people. If you are totally happy and satisfied with everything that has contributed to the mindset that directs you, be thankful. If you find things that you would like to change, make Scrooge your role model. If Scrooge can change anybody can change.
Bah humbug, indeed!
The photos in this post were taken from the North Shore Music Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol. This year’s production has ended, but this annual production returns to Beverly every December. Find out more on NSMTs website: www.NSMT.org