Stop Giving Commands

If there was one bit of advice I could impart onto other adults about raising children, especially ones who interact with my children and advice of which I fully recognize is given selfishly on my part and for my own “zen”: It is to stop giving commands.

I thought of this recently while watching Mary Poppins. When their house is out of control; the children went missing; the cook and maid are fighting; and the nanny is about to quit, the father pronounces they need a nanny who can “give commands!” He sings:

A British nanny must be a gen’ral!
The future empire lies within her hands
And so the person that we need to mold the breed
Is a nanny who can give commands!

A British bank is run with precision
A British home requires nothing less!
Tradition, discipline, and rules must be the tools
Without them – disorder!
Catastrophe! Anarchy! –
In short, we have a ghastly mess!

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