Willy Wonka and Me



I vividly recall scenes from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” of children disobeying the rules of their host, Willy Wonka. Even as a kid, I was shocked to see such horrific behaviors on display. The fit of the little red-headed girl stands out for me to this day.

As an impressionable child, I considered the movie as proof that getting your way does not make it a right way with a happy outcome. A consequence is often the recourse for a wrong decision deemed right. Just ask those Willy Wonka kids.

When my son was four, he watched the original version and gave up drinking Kool Aid because he didn’t want to blow up like the one girl and turn into a huge purple ball. This movie has deep themes, folks – for generations to come!!!

My age, watching the human race, being a father and a boss continues to prove to me that getting what you want often brings consequence, does not guarantee happiness, and, like the red-headed girl in Willy Wonka, often results in people throwing a fit.

I remember my mom saying “no” to me going to a Van Halen concert in Dallas with friends when I was seventeen. Being a father of two teenagers, I understand her refusal to let me jump in a car and drive eight hours with three other teenage boys to hear David Lee Roth sing “Panama.” But at the moment, all I saw was her killing my rock and roll dream. I don’t know that I’d have joined a hair band and spent my life on drugs and wild women, but her not giving me what I wanted probably had greater effect upon my life than I know.

For my own benefit, I have to say I didn’t pitch much of a fit. She’d have punished my insubordinate behavior. Some silent treatment for a few hours is probably all I managed, while wearing the t-shirt my friend Charlie brought me back as a painful souvenir.

Parents say “no”! Or they’re supposed to say it. Not getting what we want is a good part of life. It’s a God part of living life. Other’s wisdom and position give us boundaries necessary for living life unscathed. Sure, it hurts our feelings. We feel emotional. We will never see Eddie Van Halen play his guitar. And sometimes we want to raise a fist in rebellion against the system, but the truth is that we all need outside voices willing to not give us what we want. We will have to learn the art of submitting to a voice different then our own.

In kindergarten, I couldn’t understand my name written with lower case letters. I plainly remember telling Mrs. Washburn my name was spelled TODD and not Todd. I reported this to my mother only to discover my teacher was right- lower case letters were legit. Had I gotten my kindergarten way, I would have been trying to get my way always throughout my academic career. Later, I was ready to understand my college professor’s voice as he skilled me in theatre etiquette and how to bring a character to life.

The Bible says it best.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Sometimes what we think we want has death written all over it. It seems right, but it is deadly. And, sometimes, other people see it when we are blind to the choice and the following ramifications.

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Why throw a tantrum when the answer is different than the one you want? The parent or boss might have the right counsel, and in their words is safety.

A daily read of the book of Proverbs would help us make better choices, and quite possibly help us make better quality decisions, not based on what we want, but decisions based on what is actually good for us.

And speaking of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, what is up with those Lupalupas? Metaphor for something, or just weird psychedelic early 70s nonsense?


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