We watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a lot over here. That's the new one - not the Gene Wilder one from our childhood. It's the Tim Burton one with Johnny Depp looking a bit like a deranged serial killer (but still hot, in my book) and all the other characters looking like clay caricatures of themselves. While the Gene Wilder one is awesomely awesome in its own way, this one is more like Roald Dahl's original book and holds a different meaning in our family.
Tim Burton has always been my favorite. His movies always place people in very odd settings with peculiar backdrops and much-different-than-normally-seen characters. They show that not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but can be found in the darkest of places.
After watching this one particular Tim Burton film with my kids every day for the past month, you'd think I'd be sick of it. I'm not in the least. My kids have related to the characters more than I ever thought they would. We have even adjusted our vocabulary to replace words like "brat" and "greedy" with Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop. Instead of saying, "Don't act like a brat", we now say, "Stop acting like Veruca Salt!"
The best days are when no one is a disrepectful Mike Teavee or a super competative Violet Beauregarde trying to win all the time. The best days are when the kids are Charlie Buckets - sweet, thoughtful, caring Charlie Buckets. When they put others first and have empathy. When they don't take the extra cupcake for themselves and instead break it apart for the whole family to share. When they choose us over the entire chocolate factory.
Kids don't need things. They need to know they are loved. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, because they are demanding little buggers, I know. But when it gets hard to remember, I think of Charlie Bucket and his family. And the fact that he was SO happy to have only 3 chocolate bars in a year's time- one of which he broke apart for each of his 6 other family members to enjoy with him.
That's how I want my kids to be: Charlie Bucket-like. I want them to have it all, but I have to remember that "all" is more than material objects. It's who they ARE. In striving to be Charlie Bucket, my kids will need to learn that as well. So we'll learn it together.