What a beautiful, fabulous man who had so much kindness and goodwill toward his fellow human beings. I hope I can be as much of a role model to the kids I encounter.
This is a continuation of my last post where I set out that Julie Andrews movies are full of wisdom about working with children and teens.
The #9 thing I learned from Julie Andrews’ movies is… Confidence is important!
This one is especially important for n00bs, those who are just starting out working with kids. Kids are intimidating creatures. Their tastes can change in an instant, and they can cause the most confounding types of trouble while barely trying. If you are doing a program and you are thinking about how lame you are, they kids are going to see that and respond to it. You have to believe in what you’re doing! You can act, briefly, like you don’t know what’s going on as part of a bit, but by the end, you should have your shoulders thrown back and head held high as you prove that you knew all along.
Julie Andrews is the mistress of this. No one is more confident than Mary Poppins for heaven’s sake! She squares her shoulders and approaches the world with so much confidence that when her employer goes to fire her (based on a misguided idea that children should be robots with no fun involved), instead she gets a day off when he takes the children to the bank. Confidence, my friends, is the magic ticket, even if you don’t feel it. Well, that worked with Mr. Banks, but it also works with Jane and Michael. They are not inclined to believe in Mary Poppins at first, but with confidence and being “practically perfect in every way,” she soon has them convinced that she will be a good nanny. They will follow her anywhere and have delightful adventures!
No one has more confidence than queens, and Julie Andrews has played a couple classic ones: Queen Clarice from Princess Diaries and Queen Lillian from the Shrek series. Both are confident and unflappable women with the strength to lead their countries and the young rulers who will come after them. Queen Clarice inspires Mia to find her own confidence, and Queen Lillian leads the princesses in battle in Shrek 3 to overcome difficulty.
So, before your first day or before a big program, sing this song to yourself… Copyright rules keep me from showing you the Julie Andrews version, but I promise it’s delightful in her version of the Sound of Music. She sings it right on her way to the Von Trapp household. It’s one of those “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is feeling fear and doing what is right anyway” kind of moments… “I Have Confidence”
Well, that’s not strictly true, of course, since I’ve got my MLIS with specializations specifically for working with teens and children- not to mention years of experience in various capacities… BUT- everything else, I learned from Julie Andrews.
I’ve broken it down to the Top 10 things (some of which are more detailed than others) that I’m going to present as a series over the next several weeks. They are numbered, but they are all important and not necessarily ranked in any way. So, let’s get started…
#10 Thing I learned about working with kids from Julie Andrews movies is… It’s important to have high expectations of kids!
What? Julie Andrews never said “I have high expectations of you,” but she sure showed it. Think about it! Mary Poppins came on as a nanny to the Banks children who could be a bit naughty. Ms. Poppins would have none of it. Oh, won’t clean up your nursery? “A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down” not only gets everything cleaned up, but everyone has fun doing it. Won’t take your medicine? Well, you have to, but taste! Now it tastes like delicious treats.
Then, when Julie Andrews portrayed the lovable Maria in the Sound of Music, she had just as high expectations! Again, the Von Trapp children are not the ideal little versions of humanity that the Captain would like them to be. They have chased away their previous nannies until their father goes to the local convent to find someone with the patience to take care of the dear, little monsters. Not only did Maria transform them into sweet, tractable kids, she did it with kindness and patience. She also sang with them until they became a wonderful choir. Now, of course, this didn’t happen JUST because of high expectations but also a great deal of hard work. However, if her goal had just been to get them to stop putting frogs and snakes in the nanny’s bed, she never could have reached the same heights that she did.
Well, you might still be scoffing. After all, these are both nannies, right? Only one was a professional, but they are both characters specifically designed for taking care of children. Well, what about the dear grandmother and queen Julie Andrews played in The Princess Diaries? Queen Clarice didn’t expect Mia to stop putting frogs in beds (not that she needed to), she expected Mia to conform to the strictest rules of propriety and be a princess. Even when all seems lost, she still expects Mia to fulfill her obligations and act with decorum.
Well, isn’t Julie Andrews just always right? The Search Institute counts High Expectations as one of its 40 Developmental Assets that contribute to adolescents’ ability to become healthy, productive adults. The more assets a child or teen has, the less likely they are to do drugs, drop out of school, or engage in other negative behaviors. If we can believe in the kids in our lives, we will actually be helping them believe in themselves and succeed in life. Well played, Ms. Andrews. Well played.
So, one of my favorite library blogs, Agnostic, Maybe, created some special library card sign ups that I just had to share. You see, it’s National Library Card Sign Up Month. But, the ads for it are boring and blah, so Andy (the author of Agnostic, Maybe) made his own to represent National Bad Ass Library Card Sign Up Month. I know I traditionally just focus on Banned Books Week this week, but you all need to see these:
And, my personal favorite, the Nyan Cat GIF:
AWESOME. Just like library cards. To see the rest of the images Andy created, please visit his original post.
So, I was debating what my next post should be. I’ve done a host of school projects that I think are interesting like a collection development policy for the “Barbara Gordon Memorial Library” in Gotham City with my friend Alison. We know BG is still out there kicking butt as Oracle, but we wanted to memorialize her days as librarian by day, Batgirl by night. However, we wrote the entire policy without once mentioning superheroes by their super names. That didn’t stop us from having an outreach team work at Arkham Asylum or getting generous funding support from Wayne Enterprises. It’s riddled with subtlety. However, in the end, it is just a collection development policy written for a school project. (If you would like to see it, I’m adding it to the portfolio section.)
So, what then? Do I dazzle you with my mad statistics skills from my collection evaluation? Do I give you my review of a selection aid? Do I stun you with my memo on psychological capital?
I will send you to a much happier place where YA books are king and the nostalgia is free flowing (so is the alcohol for those over 21). Yes, you guessed it. It’s time for some Forever Young Adult. This is a blog I’ve referred to before in my Harry Potter posts, but it needs more mentions here for its brilliance. Forever Young Adult does many things well. It reviews YA books, old and new. It waxes on about the mistakes and triumphs of the teen years. It makes drinking games for movie adaptations of beloved YA friends. Did I not mention that this is for adults who love YA?
That’s what I love about this site. It’s adults (at least age wise!) who know good literature when they see it, regardless of the original intended audience. Which is why I swooned when I saw their recent post about Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Ms. Dessen was the writer for my group of friends when I was in high school. She didn’t have as many books out then (obviously…) but those books spoke to us. I have a ratty old copy of Keeping the Moon on my bookshelf that got me through some of my angsty-est times. Yet, the appeal hasn’t lessened as I’ve gotten older. She still writes amazing books that get me excited when I hear about them (or read the first chapter on her blog). Though, I am always shocked at how adult she is on her Twitter. I want her to be angsty and dramatic, but she mostly talks about her two year old, food, and North Carolina.
What does this have to do with Forever Young Adult? I spent their entire review shouting things like “Exactly!” and “These people know what I’m talking about!!” as I agreed with them. (Don’t worry, no one was around to see the insanity of me yelling at my computer screen.) I don’t always agree with their reviews so precisely, but this was one of those times when I was just happy to feel like I belonged. Huh. Maybe that isn’t so different from teenage Sarah.