They have done it again! Watching the John Lewis Christmas 2021 advert had me welling up in tears as I saw, once again, a story of inclusion unfolding before me. Like in 2019 with the story of Edgar the dragon and his friend Ava, the new advert showcases how to be inclusive of someone who is different.
As I watched Nathan reach out to Skye, the space alien that had crash landed near his home, the ways that he made a difference for her gives us some great lessons in how we can do the same for anyone, whatever ways they might be different from us. Their story could easily relate to someone who is a child refugee, or a child with additional needs, for example
Here are some of the things that Nathan did to make a difference for Skye that touched me:
- He noticed and made the effort to check
Nathan saw Skye’s spaceship crash land. It would have been easy to ignore what he had seen, but he didn’t, he followed up and made the effort to check it out. So often if we see something happen it is easier for us to look the other way, to not get involved, to leave it to someone else to help. Nathan took the time to go and check out what he had seen for himself, he noticed and got involved.
- He was initially afraid, but he went back
When Nathan finds Skye initially he is afraid, but then he decides to go back again; he overcomes his uncertainty. Sometime people can be afraid of difference, and remain afraid, unwilling to see beyond the difference and to see the person. To challenge themselves about why they are afraid. Nathan teaches us that we can overcome this uncertainty and fear and see the person too.
- He learned to communicate with Skye
Nathan found a way to connect with Skye, to reach out to her. He mirrors her own communication to show that he wants to be her friend. People might use a different language, or communicate in alternative ways; Nathan shows us that if we try then anyone can adapt to the ways of communicating that other people use.
- He met Skye’s needs
Nathan realised that Skye must be hungry, so he snuck out with some food for her. It can be easy to overlook the basic needs that people might have, especially if they have limited resources of their own. Nathan teaches us to be observant and to meet the needs of people who have less than us or have an immediate need.
- Nathan and Skye had fun together
Nathan and Skye become friends and enjoy spending time together, overcoming their differences to find each other in a snowball fight and watching a film. Sometimes there is a perception that people who are very different to us can’t be our friends, but Nathan and Skye dispel that myth and show us that genuine friendship can blossom anywhere, between anybody.
- He missed her when she went away
When Skye has to go home, Nathan misses his new friend. Sometimes there can be an unfortunate sense of relief in certain settings if, for example, a child with additional needs doesn’t come to club one week. Nathan shows us that genuine relationships, allowing us to really appreciate and care for everyone, mean that if anyone isn’t there then they are really missed.
So, let’s learn together this Christmas. Let’s notice people who are different to us and make an effort to get to know them, finding that they are really just like us in so many ways. Let’s not be afraid of difference, but let’s embrace it. Let’s learn to communicate in whatever ways we, and the person we’re with, needs us to. Let’s help to meet people’s needs. Let’s break down barriers and have fun together. And let’s miss each other for all the right reasons when we can’t be together.
Here’s the link to the John Lewis Christmas 2021 advert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTttgc0DPA4
All text © Mark Arnold 2021, all images © John Lewis & Partners 2021
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