As a Gen Xer Here Are 7 Life Lessons I Learned From the Sound of Music

The classic movie “The Sound of Music” is full of life lessons.

The song lyrics hold a wealth of knowledge that anyone can benefit from. As a Gen Xer, I watched The Sound of Music, which was released in 1965, for the first time in 2018.

Since then, I added the soundtrack to my background music list. When listening to the words, I found some life lessons in them.

Every Job Isn’t a Good Fit For Everyone

Life Lesson - Finding Right Job
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The song “Maria” is about how Maria is not working out as a nun. The piece is sung by other nuns at the abbey.

Most of the lyrics are complaints about Maria, and the nuns are trying to figure out what to do about Maria.

“Maria’s not an asset to the abbey.” and “Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?”

Maria is working out at the abbey. The job isn’t a good fit for her. So, she is sent to be a governess for a widower with seven children.

Just like for anyone, there may be a job that you try out that you end up not liking. It’s okay to try something and move on to different opportunities.

Choosing To Have Confidence

Life Lesson - Confidence
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Maria initially has some doubts about caring for the children.

However, in “I Have Confidence,” we learn she chooses to have confidence. She sings, “I have confidence in confidence alone.”

The phrase can remind anyone who hears it to believe in themselves. You can choose to have confidence!

Be Careful of Young Love

Life Lesson - Love
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The lyrics of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” may feel outdated as they are from 1965. However, we can still find meaning in them in current times.

The song is a beautiful duet starring Rolf and Liesl. Rolf is older than Liesl by only a year or two. As Rolf sings, we learn he is “seventeen going eighteen.” So, Rolf, as an “older” man, has advice for his younger admirer, who is about to turn seventeen.

We can learn to be careful of who we give our hearts to, especially at younger ages when we still have much to learn about life.

Also, regardless of gender, some people will want to take advantage of you because of your age or lack of love experience.

Comfort From Our Favorite Things

Life Lesson - Comfort
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I was surprised when I heard “My Favorite Things” when watching the “The Sound of Music” movie, as it’s often played on the radio around Christmas.

In the lyrics, Maria sings about favorite things, ending with:

“I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad”

When we are having a hard time or feeling sad, we may be able to find comfort in the things around us. You could also include a Bible verse or relationships with others as a favorite thing.

You Can Learn to Sing [or Whatever]

Life Lesson - Learning New Things
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In “Do-Re-Mi,” Maria teaches the children how to sing. If you can match the pitch of each note, as sung in this piece, you can learn to sing.

“When you know the notes to sing
You can sing most anything”

While the song is about learning to sing, we can use it as motivation to learn new skills.

When you practice,  you can learn most anything!

So Long, Farwell

Life Lesson - Saying Goodbye
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The first time the children sing “So Long, Farewell” in the movie, they are saying goodnight at a party. Each child says goodbye and then goes to bed.

The second time the song is performed near the movie’s end at a concert. The family is essentially saying goodbye to Austria. They are fleeing the country as the father, Captain von Trapp, does not want to serve in the German navy as he opposes the Nazis.

In both instances, the family members are giving up something. The children will miss out on fun things at the party while they are in bed. And the entire family will miss their home country of Austria.

Sometimes we miss out on things because of circumstances, and sometimes we must make hard choices.

Purse Your Dreams

Life Lesson - Follow Your Dreams
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“Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is an anthem about persistence and following your dreams.

At this point in the movie, Maria has returned to the abbey as she realized she has feelings of love for Captain von Trapp. She must decide whether to remain a nun or return to the von Trapp family.

The lyrics are clear about doing what it takes to live your dream.

“Climb ev’ry mountain
Ford ev’ry stream
Follow ev’ry rainbow
‘Till you find your dream”

Life Lessons

Life Lessons - Grandma with Granddaughter.
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I didn’t expect to find life lessons in the “Sound of Music” soundtrack.

However, the more I listened to the lyrics there they were.

Sometimes, the lessons we need to learn come from unexpected people and sources!

Generation X Kid Things

Gen X Kid Things - Retro Dressed Teenager
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There are things I did as a kid in the 1980s that kids these days don’t do anymore.

10 Things I Did as a Gen X Kid That Are Not Part of Life for Kids These Days

How To Quit a Job

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Do you dread going to work? Are you ready to make a change?

Gross Jobs

Portable Toilet Cleaner
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Be Productive at Work

Funny Dog at Work Meme
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When you become more productive at work, you may be able to get more done in less time.

Are You a Good or Bad Coworker?

Annoying Coworker Thank You Email Meme
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Do your coworkers like having you around?


Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes


Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.