Serving Mr. Banks

Winds in the east / Mist coming in / Like something is brewing / About to begin / Can’t put me finger / On what lies in store / But I feel what’s to happen / All happened before.

At a time logo ago and far away, I suggested that the movie Mary Poppins was a model for youth ministry.  After watching Saving Mr. Banks recently, allow me, please, to echo that sentiment.

We are reminded that the Mary Poppins soundtrack juxtaposes Fidelity Fiduciary Bank and Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) in a discussion between the challenges of capitalism versus a call for social justice half a century before Pope Francis picks up the theme for the Church once again in Evangeli Gaudium. But, it is not just a lesson for Jane and Michael Banks alone as it also serves as an examination of conscience regarding priorities for the banker father and the sister suffragette mother

Saving Mr. Banks suggests that the movie Mary Poppins is more of a portrayal of saving the parents.  And that may be our most neglected call in youth ministry.  In falling to fully partner with parents respectfully (in the manner of the umbrella-welding nanny) we offer an incomplete service to their children. A caveat, however,,, both movies, Poppins and Mr. Banks, seem to be about saving the family, the Banks family is a problem to be magically solved.  Let it be suggested, however, that PL Travers most likely considered that the Banks family as she wrote them were just fine, perfectly normal. Hiring a stranger as nanny is not as much a choice to abandon the children as much as it was likely considered a common practice in that time and place for a member of her class within society – remember that there were other hired members of the household as well.

Evangeli Gaudium (66) reminds us that the family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. But the family is not broken as much as experiencing a cultural crisis. Pope Francis continues to advocate that In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.

What is it that we can offer parents to strengthen bonds, serve as the fundamental cell of society, teach community of living with differences as well as nurture belonging, as well as passing along faith to their kids?  How do we take these values, add a spoonful of sugar, and make this task we undertake become a piece of cake a lark! a spree! It’s very clear to see that must address this as a filed. At least one programming consideration for us might be helping parents to just “waste time” with their own young people… you know, sorta like, going and flying a lite.

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



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