Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mary Poppins (Part 4) - Go Fly a Kite!

Oh, Go Fly a Kite! 

In other words ...

"Leave me alone!" 

"Go away!" 

"Go jump in the lake!"

Or some other rude phrase, such as  - "Go to (someplace where it is very hot.)"

Such words elicit feelings of rejection, isolation, anger, hurt, and serve to drive people away.  Yet, in Mary Poppins, "Go Fly a Kite" means quite the opposite.
Back to 1910:

End of Part 3, George Banks, spirits crushed, is plunging into an abyss of his deepest fears - loss of his position and the esteem of his peers.  His "take your kids to work day" ends with a panic, a run on the bank as his children flee in fright. Meanwhile, at home his wife rushes off to do her own thing, oblivious to the family crisis.

It gets worse.  Finally home, George's bosses call him back to work that evening for a regretful course of action.  Yet, in this dark moment, the blinders start to come off, and George sees the love of his children.

One of the more poignant moments, George leaves home walking the dark streets of London under the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral, uncomplaining, to face his troubles, alone.  What he endures at the bank is humiliation as his bosses dress him down and discharge him.

Yet, at this low point, George has his "ah-hah" moment as he draws strength from the most unlikely of sources.

Can you say - Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Fast forward to 2010:

Today, many face our worst fears.  Loss of job?  House foreclosures?  Debts?  Underpaid and/or overworked for those who still have jobs?  Humiliation of being laid off or being rejected?  And other problems that seem so big?

It's a lonely road, but at such times, family, friends, and unexpected "angels" may come into our lives for such a time as this.  And this caring is a bright spot, which may cause the blinders to come off and see the people about us who love us.

Rewind to 1910:

George does not come home from the bank that evening.  The morning after, Mrs. Banks shows concern for someone other than herself as she fears the worst after learning that George had been discharged last night.

Did he go fly at kite ... like literally go jump in the lake? Or in this case a river?  In his despondency after being sack, did he decide to end it all?

Actually, George did decide to go fly a kite.

Let's go fly a kite.

The first time I heard this song I thought it was rather silly.  But now I see it differently.

In facing the prospect of losing everything, George finds everything, in particular his family.  The movie starts with a kite, as the Banks children wreck it in the park after slipping away from their mean faced nanny (before Mary Poppins.)  Their father mending the broken kite means a lot to the Banks children - perhaps a metaphor for mending their family relationships?

Now, the entire family gets together in this project and enjoys flying their mended kite.  In the Disney happy ending, last moment George gets not only his job back, but a promotion. But the promotion does not matter as much as George's real source of joy - bonding with his loved ones, who are now with him.

The wind changes.  And Mary Poppins keeps her word to stay only till the wind changes.  It's time for her to move on.  Before exiting the Banks lives, Mary is reminded that the children now think more of their father than they do of her. She responds quite appropriately - As it should be

Fast forward to 2010:

During a time such as a serious recession, many of us have been forced to downsize, yet in doing so have rediscovered our families, spending not money, but quality time with them.

Anyone can be a Bert or Mary.  No supernatural powers required.  Just being there during a time of need can make a big difference and even be a source in which to draw strength during a crisis.  And that is why the movie, Mary Poppins, is so timeless.
On the importance of fathers like George Banks, this Father's Day message in 2010 from President Obama is spot on:  Take time to be a Dad today

Whether 1910 or 2010, little things matter a great deal.  Even something like flying a kite.  And a father's influence is so important!

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