8 Lessons Mary Poppins taught us about life
As a child I found Mary Poppins utterly terrifying. "Witch!" my tiny brain screamed, terrified by the prospect of being trapped in a cupboard or chalk painting.
I was a strange kid.
For most a flying nanny and her magical adventures — not to mention the prospect of cleaning up with a snap of the fingers — was a delightful notion. A generation grew up writing nanny job adverts and waiting with bated breath for her to arrive. But while she never materialised she did share these pearls of wisdom:
1. Take the time to powder your nose
In the opening scene, when Mary Poppins floats in on a cloud, she takes a minute to powder her nose. Then before dancing a jig with the chimney sweeps she does it again. Why? Because taking time out to make yourself feel good is important, that's why.
2. Support women
"Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid." This may just be my favourite line in a movie. Ever. It comes as part of a whole tune about marching together to strive for gender equality and making future generations proud. Go, ladies, go go go!
3. Know what you want and ask for it
At her job interview Mary Poppins is unrelenting and a touch bizarre but, if you look past her refusal to give references, you'll note that she unapologetically argues for her pay and leave entitlements. She also recognises that an employment contract has to be mutually beneficial. Bravo, Mary. Bravo!
4. "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down"
The famous song is not about questionable dietary or medical choices but about adding an element of fun to everything you do to make life better.
5. Laughter is good
To be perfectly honest, this one was a bit confusing. Bert and Uncle Albert are all about laughing but the latter doesn't appear to be sane. Mary doesn't want a bar of it. Then there's the whole issue of the bank president laughing himself to death. Still I think the message is that laughter makes life more fun and that's something we can all get behind.
6. Be polite and keep your cool
Mr. Banks goes off on a pretty impressive tangent about discipline and anarchy but then Mary totally owns him, proving that you don't have to yell and scream to get your way.
7. It's OK to make up words sometimes
…as long as they sound precocious.
8. It's all about perspective
"Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of his own, can't see past the end of his own nose." That's how Mary explains a combo of obliviousness and narcissism to the kids, teaching us all that we need to be mindful and understanding when someone is being short-sighted.