‘Mary Poppins Returns’ offers chance for viewers to reflect on childhood

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By Beth Pinyerd
Opelika Observer

One of my most recent classroom assignment was to go to the movies! My son gave me such a wonderful birthday gift this year.
He took this baby boomer to see “The Return of Mary Poppins.” As I looked around the theater, I saw many older folks, as well as children, in attendance. The greater generation and baby boomers have a common bond in loving the first film, which included classic songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, “Just A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down,” “I Love to Laugh,” “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” etc.
We remember our hearts flew up in imaginary hopes as Mary Poppins came flying in with her umbrella to be a nanny to two children and influence a whole family. Dancing on chimneys as well as going to imaginary places was reflected in the first Mary Poppins. The second Mary Poppins recaptures these memories in a different fashion.
I just wanted to get up and clap as well as pull out a tissue as I began to think of my own happy childhood memories that surrounded this movie. We have all been children and being around children helps us to reflect upon the season of childhood.
As parents, grandparents, and teachers just being around children brings gifts of wonder, laughter, and looking forward to each day. Here are some of the gifts that children bring to us:
The gift of wonder and fun. Children’s wonder of observing things we may not even notice, such as birds, planes, cloud shapes, and ants working busily, are keenly observed and pondered by young children. As we grow up, we sort of forget those things that made us happy.
The wonder of swinging in a swing up to the sky or playing house with your friends-or imaginary friends-are passing wonders that children treasure. Children give grown-ups the gift to “take time to smell the roses” as the old saying goes.
The gift of being needed. Babies come into the world dependent on us. By a cry, a squirm, a facial expression, they let us know their needs.
For some reason as we grow up, we get this notion that we have to be self-sufficient and independent. When having children, teaching children, or working with children, you quickly realize your need for help!
One of those needs is patience. You have to have the need for wisdom in asking other folks how they may have handled a particular situation; you also need kindness, and mostly forgiveness.
I have learned during the many years I have been in teaching that children are the most forgiving in almost all situations. Hugs, love and respect are shown when we might be tired, impatient, or even when we have to discipline children.
Children need us very much and they gently remind us that we need them too.
The gift of hope: in “Mary Poppins Returns” the segment of flying balloons which went up, up, up reminded me that children have hope! Whether it be earning a special reward because of a child or class finishing up on their work assignments, going outside for recess, having a special program, or field trips which enrich a unit of study, children get so excited! Their excitement is contagious with we grownups!
I see hope in the eyes of young children when they are drawing something they truly like. I see hope in the eyes of a young child when they are building something with blocks or Legos and they know they will be proud of the completed project.
The gift of being a better person: Children keep us all so well grounded in what is important and what is not. Children help us to live and enjoy the moment if we step back and allow ourselves to see their world through their eyes. Each day is such a gift and one in which we don’t need to let a minute go by!

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