Every Person Is Good And Worthy Of Dignity

By Kristen Bourgeois, NOLA Catholic parenting

I recently watched the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.  The movie tells the back story of the author P.L. Travers, creator of the beloved Disney movie Mary Poppins. 

While Mary Poppins and the kids are featured in the story, both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers are focused on saving the character, Mr. Banks, who is tragically flawed and misunderstood. 

The relationship between the young Travers and her father is what spoke to me.  Some critics believe the character, Mr. Banks, in the Mary Poppins story is loosely based on the author’s father. 

The young father and daughter relationship is sweet although a human weakness of alcoholism plagues the family dynamic. 

While P.T. Travers remembers the sweetness and goodness of her father, it was her aunt who came to restore order to a family wrecked by the weight of alcoholism. 

Her aunt would be the inspiration for Mary Poppins who would arrive and provide much needed structure and tough love.

The Holy Spirit reminded me in this movie, the importance of seeing all people in their human-ness, in their weakness, and all deserving of dignity – despite our sin, despite our weakness.

For me this is easier said than done.

It’s just so easy to see the flaw, the sin, the glaring human weakness that is plaguing us. 

In the movie, Walt Disney had to promise P.L. Travers that he would “Save Mr. Banks” and not tarnish him for his weaknesses. 

The iconic song “Let’s go fly a kite” in the movie Mary Poppins, was a declaration that with all his faults of being a workaholic, Mr. Banks, can drop all the worries of this life and go fly a kite with his children.

Mr. Banks is saved by learning to choose the better part. 

During the end credits of the movie, audio is played from the script review where Travers went through the script with the screenwriters.

It is here that she explains the character of Mr. Banks as:  “He is able. He has a tender, good heart. Not a change of heart. Because he’s always been sweet, but worried with the cares of life.”

We are all good. We are all human. We all deserve dignity. 

It’s time to see past failures in others and ourselves to recognize the inherent goodness that we all possess. 

Kristen Bourgeois is a wife and mother, with a new baby due in August, who grew up in New York and now calls New Orleans home. She was a police detective for 15 years investigating crimes. She currently assists her husband with youth ministry at St. Jane de Chantal and works at Camp Abbey. Kristen had a conversion while a detective and seeks to help working parents find peace in our chaotic world. Hearing God’s voice and finding ways to pray is a passion of Kristen’s. She loves to discover a new chaplet or prayer app and share the Good News! She loves adventure, traveling on horseback, glamping, puppies and watching “Phineas and Ferb” episodes.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.