Life Lessons from Scrooge

alex atkins bookshelf christmas“How do we learn life lessons from a crotchety old miser so unpleasant that dogs run him from sight?” asks Bob Welch, author of 52 Life Lessons from a Christmas Carol, the third book in the 52 Life Lessons series (the other two are 52 Life Lessons from It’s A Wonderful Life and 52 Life Lessons from Les Miserables). An excellent question that is worth pondering. Welch continues, “[Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge], George Bailey and Jean Valjean… are honorable men throughout most of their stories… Both men learn significant life lessons: Bailey late in his story, Valjean early in his. But both bring out the best in people around them. Both put others above self. Both inspire us.

But as Welch and many literary critics have noted, Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol as a “charity sermon,” “a direct appeal to the common heart.” As such, the novella is a cautionary tale of how not to live, as well as how to live, much like we see in stories from the Bible. Welch elaborates: “[However] Scrooge is everything George Bailey and Jean Valjean are not: he’s wealthy, selfish, and utterly discontent. A man not revered but despised. A man nobody wants to be like. And because Scrooge’s redemption does not come until the end of the story, Dickens’s portrayal of him is like describing a train wreck in great detail before exalting the fancy caboose at the end. All of which is to say that 52 Lessons from a Christmas Carol is tinted with a fair share of how-not-to-live lessons as well as how-to-live lessons.”

In writing A Christmas Carol, Dickens did not simply want to entertain readers, nor did he simply want to write a critical social commentary. Rather, Dickens hoped that his ghostly story would inspire empathy, kindness, and goodwill toward fellow men, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year. In the spirit of Christmas, Bookshelf presents some of the important life lessons from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol:

No man is an island; it is important to think of others

Misery loves company: people who are miserable want others to be miserable

Don’t let people steal your joy

See life through the eyes of a child from time to time

Everyone has value

Don’t confuse business with life

You are your choices; you make the chains that shackle you

Humility helps you see life more clearly

To heal, you must get in touch with your feelings

Your actions make an impact on others around you

Obsession with making money is not healthy

Learning begins with listening

Bitterness will poison your life

Dying lonely is the result of living lonely

Amid tragedy, others still need you

Be charitable because others have been charitable to you

It’s never too late to change

Be the change you want to see

Read related posts: The Origin of the Name Scrooge
The Inspiration for Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Best Quotes from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Twas the Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life
Best Quotes from A Christmas Story
The Inspiration for Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
The Story Behind Scrooge
What is a First Edition of A Christmas Carol Worth?
The Story Behind “The Night Before Christmas”

For further reading: 52 Life Lessons from a Christmas Carol by Bob Welch

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