It was so much fun sharing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of my all-time favorite children’s books, with our students, staff, and families in March. As with all great literature, the story is more than a poor boy finding a Golden Ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar that earns him a tour of Mr Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and ultimately the role of Mr. Wonka’s successor. Embedded in this fantastic tale are life lessons that apply today just as much as they did in 1964 when the book was first published.
Here are some things we can learn from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
- Learn to follow directions. Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, and Mike Teavee all disregard instructions to satisfy their own wants and suffer horrible consequences. Even Charlie and Grandpa Joe do not listen to Mr. Wonka’s directions about not drinking the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and almost end up cut to shreds by the fan spinning in the ceiling.
- If you dream it, you can make it happen. Nothing is impossible! All of the creative confections in the factory are the result of dreaming big and thinking outside of the box. As Willy Wonka says, ““I am the maker of music, the dreamer of dreams!”
- The world doesn’t revolve around you. Greed is unattractive and often gets you in trouble. Greedy Augustus Gloop, like the other spoiled children, teaches us that drinking from the chocolate river just because you want to and cannot control yourself only means you have contaminated the chocolate for everyone else and you are going to end up in the toffee room being pulled and stretched. Think about how your actions affect others.
- Be grateful for the important and simple things in life. Although Charlie could be jealous of the spoiled children who also found Golden Tickets, we don’t see himcomparing himself to those more fortunate. Charlie is a kind and loving boy. Instead of yearning for materialistic things, Charlie focuses on his loving family and the simple joy of enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the factory with Grandpa Joe.
- The best things in life are worth waiting for. Trust the process. Unlike the other children touring the factory, Charlie shows patience and takes time to marvel at and enjoy every invention and room in Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. He does not just focus on his own wants and whims. The expression “good things come to those who wait” certainly applies in this story.
Please continue to read great books full of important lessons with your children at home. You might consider reading some of Roald Dahl’s other books such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and The BFG to enjoy marvelous characters involved in imaginative tales that offer real-world lessons about life.