Willy Wonka passed away on August 29, 2016. That was a sad day for many, especially the millions who grew up with the excitement of unwrapping a Golden Ticket in every candy bar.
That was me. I relate to Willy Wonka. I am always thinking, creating, imagining the impossible, searching for inventions. I literally kept an “Invention Notebook” as an 8-year-old full of pictures and feats of science. But I am also stubborn, set in my ways, and introverted like Willy. I prefer to be away from people and left alone with my Oompa Loompas a.k.a. my kids. Because I relate so deeply to this movie, the theme song triggers deep emotions from my childhood. Whenever I hear it, I go back in time.
I stress the importance of story-telling into your fatherhood adventure. But I don’t tell you where the stories come from, do I? They come from Willy Wonka. They come from Bastian (The Neverending Story). They come from Luke Skywalker, Bilbo Baggins, Aslan, Rocky Balboa, Perseus, and a host of other books & movies I loved as a kid. They make up my life experience and my brain recalls elements of each as I journey down the road of fatherhood.
Maybe this is uncommon… maybe it’s a superpower. I don’t know, but I do know this — Creating stories around the everyday incites imagination in your kids. Imagination incites creativity and creativity incites adventure and silliness. When these ingredients are combined into your dad time… Watch out!!!
In this adventure with my daughter, we went to the post office and the bank. That’s it. But we brought Willy Wonka along for the ride. So in a small way, we brought Gene Wilder back to life for a small time in our hearts.
Along his journey from artist to engineer to entrepreneur, Ken Carfagno became a dad. And like many new dads, his kids inspired a long-forgotten gift. Ken could make up stories and draw his kids into them. This sparked a dream that lead to Dadnamics, the infusion of creativity, adventure, and silliness into dad time. And it lead to the Arctic Land experience.