On the first day of winter break, my family and I headed to see Mary Poppins Returns. We all really enjoyed the film. Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were both great, the songs were delightful, and it made us all smile.
It also served as a catalyst for some interesting talks with my teen daughter. There were some surprisingly practical lessons about adulting in the film. Here are four talks to have after seeing Mary Poppins Returns with teens and tweens that cover some practical parts of adulting.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a common saying. It seems like a message Mary Poppins would approve of. Unfortunately, the Banks family didn’t take it to heart when she first was on the scene. Instead, the lack of an understandable filing system causes major problems for the family. A search for a very important document lasts through much of the movie.
Whether it’s actual papers or online, have a filing system for important documents and share it with your kids. Be a good role model. It is easier to learn good habits young rather than learn the hard way as adults. Also, they’ll need to keep track of documents and such when applying to college. An added bonus: your kids may be able to step in and be helpful if needed down the road.
The power of compound interest may be an abstract concept, but the end of Mary Poppins Returns makes it a bit more concrete. I don’t want to give anything away, but an investment made early in one character’s life has an impact. It makes a difference in large part because the investment was left alone and grew exponentially in size.
Saying to a teen, “Let’s talk about finances and investments” isn’t likely to generate much excitement with them. Using that part of the story, however, can be a good way to introduce the topic. It’s a way to illustrate the importance of investing early. Even Dick Van Dyke approves.
Things can be repaired
We live in a fairly disposable society. Kids (and some adults) are more inclined to throw something out and buy new rather than replace it. When an objects in the movie breaks, Mary is quick to say that her cousin Topsy (played by Meryl Streep) can fix it. While not a main theme in the movie, it’s worth noting to kids.
Share a time you had something fixed or involve them in your next repair mission. Better yet, if there’s something around your home that’s broken (and not crazy important or dangerous), have them see if they can find a YouTube video and fix it themselves.
Give without expectation of repayment
Mary Poppins cares for everyone remarkably well, and she expects nothing in return. Well, manners, of course – and thank goodness, but no payment.
She simply gives of herself when needed and puts her needs aside. In a world where many people are all about themselves, but Mary Poppins serves as a reminder that giving selflessly is a true gift. She’s an example for all of us to follow.
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns? What did you think?
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