Silas and Dorothy made their Virginia debut this weekend at Broken Leg Theater’s Wonka Jr. They are my little Oompa Loompas. It has been a terrific experience. Bravo, Broken Leg Theater! (www.brokenlegtheater.org)
Over the eight weeks of rehearsals, I concluded that the Oompa Loompa way of thinking is spot on, for each time they were on stage they offered a nugget of truth.
Concentrate on self control (Augustus Gloop had zero) and not self esteem. Veruca Salt possessed plenty of that.
Make manners mandatory. The gum smacking, back talking Violet Beauregarde could’ve used a generous helping.
Instill gratitude. Veruca didn’t get it and neither did her father. Require gratitude from your children. Encourage it when you can. Enforce it when you must.
Require respect. Only Charlie Bucket, bless his heart, respected his elders. Enforce respect for your sake, for their sake, for the good of the whole planet.
Work ethic? Everybody needs one. It wouldn’t hurt Varuca to get her hands dirty. And perhaps Augustus should have been required to work for food.
Limit screen time, even if they howl like Mike Teavee. And while we're at it, we must set an example, unlike Mrs. Teavee, who was constantly on her own screen (in this production, at least).
The Oompa Loompas sum it up best:
Who do you blame when your kid is a brat
Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat
Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame
You know exactly who's to blame
The mother and the father
Oompa loompa doompety da
If you're not spoiled then you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa Doompety do.
Kids can’t raise themselves. They need limits, guidance, discipline, nurturing. The one thing they don't need? For us to make their lives perfect.
All those things that seem so small really do add up. As a mentor of mine once told me, there are three things you must never tolerate from your kids: disrespect, deceit and defiance. That pretty much sums up the Oompa Loompa philosophy.
So, if you have concluded that, well, maybe your kid is a little too much like the kids who met their demise at Wonka's factory, try a little Oompa Loompa know-how.
It’s just good, common sense.
"Discipline your children and they will give you peace; they will bring the delights you desire."