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Mary Poppins Returns to Remind Us of the Importance of Family

By Sara Butler

Mary Poppins Returns

Image Source: Variety

I’m a huge Disney fan. I nerd out to Disney. I know all the little facts, have taken the behind-the-scenes tours, and I’m the annoying friend who, when looking for someplace to go on vacation, always suggests Walt Disney World. I’m not ashamed.

You can imagine my delight of the release of Mary Poppins Returns. Of course, I had to watch the original Dick Van Dyke/Julie Andrews version as a warm-up and it reminded me of something that I’ve always wondered about Mary Poppins: Why was Mr. Banks such a stick in the mud? He acted like spending time with his family was on par with getting a root canal without novocaine. Then I remembered that sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective about what your family has to offer you and what you gain merely from being around them, even if they do like to bring up inappropriate political discussions at the dinner table.

Your family may not be practically perfect in every way, but there are bonafide benefits to your health and wellness that comes with spending time with them. Try to keep these benefits in mind at your next family gathering when old Uncle Orville is complaining about having “no privacy at all around this place.”

Families Build Self-Esteem

Studies have found that children who spend more time with their families have a lot of self-confidence. When they feel valued by their parents, they’re more sociable and find it easier to build relationships with peers. Think of all the trouble Jane and Michael could have avoided if they felt a little more valued by their parents.

Family Time Creates Bonds

My dad used to refer to time together as “binding time” -- which he thought was hilarious. But he was right about one thing: spending time with your family does strengthen the bonds you have together. When a family can come together and enjoy activities, strong relationships are built, and stressful situations are easier to handle.

Families Reinforce Positive Behavior

I don’t want to say that the Banks parents were failing their kids before Mary Poppins showed up to show them the error of their ways, but I will. Mr. and Mrs. Banks were not winning any parent of the year awards.

When you spend time with your family, you influence your children to act in more positive ways. Several studies have shown that the simple act of eating dinner together helps your children perform better in school. Maybe a spoon full of whole grains helps the school work get done, or some other healthy idea that’s equally Mary Poppins-like.

Families Create Memories

One of the best parts about being a part of a family? Reminding each other of all the embarrassing things you’ve done. You can’t create those kinds of memories if you don’t spend time together. Think of family time as an investment in future mortification material.

Mr. Banks learned his supercalifragilisticexpialidocious life lesson in the original Mary Poppins, which pretty much means no one is a lost cause. Appreciate your family and spend time with them -- it’s good for you!

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