The Mary Poppins Dilemma - "practically perfect"

Avatar for islaywhisky
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2002
The Mary Poppins Dilemma - "practically perfect"
5
Thu, 09-19-2013 - 1:29am

I have posted on this board before because I'm one of four brothers and no sisters. For that reason alone, I am offering this question for discussion here because I can't find a more appropriate board on iVillage.

If anyone can suggest one, please tell me.

The link below is a very recent article on the BBC's UK website: 'Why don't some parents like taking advice from non-parents?'

When the British NHS (National Health Service) was established in 1948, my parents were visited - without invitation - by a young District Nurse. Her remit was to visit families of children under 16. My Mother readily invited her in because she and Dad were so grateful for this wonderful and free source of medical care - until the nurse insisted she should examine her sons. At which point Mum sent her packing - telling her not to darken her door again (or words to that effect).

Some many years later, my mother told me how deeply she was incensed by "that young 'flibbertigibbet' of a girl,"  barely out of her teens, telling her how to care for her boys while she herself was chlidless. And that's the point I want to make.

My wife and I have fostered some 35+ children over a twelve year period, many short-term and some  long term. We no longer foster now because of our circumstances. But we recall the social workers who visited us in those years. And and in those years we discussed the remarkable difference between well-meaning social workers, bereft of children of their own who had been 'trained' in child care, compared with those who had personal, hands-on experience with a child of their own. The difference was chalk-from-cheese.

Was Mary Poppins an example we should aspire to, with no children of her own? It's a conundrum so near to my heart.  My very, very dear Aunt, who finally died  in my arms at the age of 93, was blessed with countless children who she loved unconditionally throughout her life as a Primary School teacher - and who loved her in return.  Her virginity was totally irrelevant.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24124794

Christopher

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

If you actually watched the movie, you would see that Mary Poppins reconnects the family.  "As it should be."  The kids are not to be raised by a nanny, but by their parents is the whole point of the movie. 

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

Avatar for islaywhisky
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2002

Ramona, I've watched the film many times, first in a cinema and then on TV with its many repeats usually around Christmas time. As you say, the whole point of the story is the re-uniting of a family "as it should be". It's why Mary Poppins arrived on her 'parachute' umbrella to be a nanny for as long as it took to help them discover what 'family' means. You're missing my point in posting this thread.

The BBC article asks, "Why don't some parents like taking advice from non-parents?" It offers Mary Poppins as an example most of us are familiar with because of the film's popularity. Childless social workers exist in the UK and I'm sure the same is true in the US. I was reminded both of my mother's response to a visit from one when I and my brothers were boys, and the visits my wife and experienced when we were foster parents. I'm simply looking for opinions from other parents in situations like this.

What is yours?

(As an aside, I can see two interpretations of the phrase "practically perfect".  One meaning 'perfect' in a practical sense, the other meaning 'almost perfect'.)

Christopher

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

I never understand your points to begin with or your ramblings. Mary Poppin's knew that she was not practically perfect but the parents were, that is thewhole point of the movie.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2005

I do think that professionals such as teachers, doctors, therapists, etc. can offer valuable advice in certain areas of parenting regardless of whether or not they have children of their own.  However, I believe that it is difficult to really understand what it is to be a parent and the complex emotions that are involved until you are one yourself.  I work as a speech therapist and find that those of us who have children of our own are often more sensitive to how complex a task parenting is than those who do not have their own children.  And particularly, raising a son who had some developmental delays has given me a greater understanding of the extra complexities involved in parenting a child with issues beyond the typical ones. 

Avatar for islaywhisky
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2002

Thank you, Boysmom, for a sensible and well-reasoned reply.

Christopher

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i