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”