During the last couple of years of Walt Disney’s life, every Friday afternoon he would visit with the famous Sherman Brothers who worked there in the Disney Studio. (The Sherman Brothers are the famous award winning writing duo that created so many of the classic Disney songs and soundtacks)
The visit with Walt was always the same. He would ask what they were working on. He would usually take a few minutes to listen in and offer suggestions. Walt would then look to Richard Sherman and say, “Play the song, Richard.”
Richard knew what he meant. He would begin to play “Feed the Birds” from “Mary Poppins.”
Walt would look out the window of his office while the song was performed and when it was over he would smile and say, “Yep, that is what it is all about. Have a good weekend boys.”
Disney knew they had tapped into something very special with that song. In some ways they found the heart of the movie. It was actually the first song the Sherman Brothers wrote after reading The Bird Woman chapter of the book. It was the first song they played for Walt during their very first story meeting about the film. It was also the last song they ever played for him.
If you are familiar with the song you know it is about an old woman who sells bread crumbs in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. She speaks to the people passing, “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.”
The song nails the theme of the picture. It doesn’t take much to do an act of kindness…in this case a tuppence, just a penny or two. Those small things, the little acts…make all the difference. In many ways that is what unfolds in Mary Poppins. There are some rough around the edges kids who need some attention and love from Mary Poppins. There are a couple of parents that find that time and not just money are expressions of love and they can bring joy. There are folks who find the joy in living each day moment to moment…they dance, sing, and laugh their way along as life unfolds.
It doesn’t take much and you can make a huge difference.
For Walt in his last years this song very well may have served as a reminder of how the things he did made a difference, it also may have been an anchor point that kept him moving forward in striving with care and detail to create memories that would last.
For you and I it is a powerful reminder that it does not take much to make a big difference in the lives of others. That little act of kindness, the expression of love, a nice word, a smile, a gift given, and even a smile might bring joy to the life of another. At the end of the day we were created so that we would make a difference.
What about it?
Are you making a difference?
It doesn’t take much effort…but it sure is worth it!