sly : marketing

How a wheelbarrow made me feel like the greatest dad in the world

I am a father of two kids, one boy and one girl. Wow, wasn’t that a great start? It’s almost as if I’ve learned something from my latest post about being intimate and more personal than ever. Actually I have, and that’s why I am going to share another personal story with you.

But, it’s exactly what Robert Dempsey said:

“It’s ok to share something personal when it helps me make the point, otherwise there’s no need to share it.”

I’m a dad. That’s it.

I’m just a regular dad, doing regular stuff. But once in a while it feels like I have super powers, that I am a super hero and the greatest dad in the world.

It always happens when I do things that my kids didn’t think was possible. Like today, when we ate both pancakes and hot dogs at the same time. They wanted both, they got both. I could see it in their eyes, they couldn’t believe that it was happening.

I’m not spoiling them. Well, maybe just a little. But wait, I haven’t told you the interesting part yet.

The wheelbarrow

The Wheelbarrow

Everything started when my daughter was in kindergarten. She was probably 3 years old. I had to pick her up around 4 pm, and I was usually driving. All the other parents drove cars as well. There was nothing interesting about it. Nothing fun was happening. So, I got an idea.

I found an old wheelbarrow at home. I put a blanket in it, and started pushing it in front of me, all the way to the kindergarten. When I finally arrived, all the kids and the parents were staring. It was like they couldn’t talk, it was like they hadn’t seen a wheelbarrow before. I could see it in their faces that they were all sort of asking the same question; what is he going to do with the wheelbarrow? and then, why’s there a blanket in the wheelbarrow, and finally, oh no, is he really going to put his daughter in there?

I did put my daughter in the wheelbarrow, then, a few years later, I put both my daughter and my son in the wheelbarrow. And they are the happiest kids in the kindergarten, at least when they are leaving. The wheelbarrow is so popular and all the kids are talking about it, and I have actually had to give rides to the other kids as well. I remember one day I was pushing every single kid around, and they never got tired, until I got tired about 30 minutes later.

The parents are talking about it as well. It sounds like they think it’s a cool thing to do. But no matter what the parents think, I know that their kids love it. And that’s what’s important.

Why am I telling you this?

The reason I thought about using the wheelbarrow, and why it was such a huge success and why it made me feel like the greatest dad in the world, is all because I targeted the right people. No matter what other people may think, I did it for the kids. If the kids love it, it was the right thing to do.

I was trying my best to think like a kid. I wanted my kids to feel different. I wanted my kids to have an amazing time and a joy ride. The day after I started using the wheelbarrow to transport my kids home from the kindergarten, it was all they talked about. It was all their friends talked about. I had finally discovered my first purple cow. I was doing something remarkable in a world ruled by kids.

25 responses to “How a wheelbarrow made me feel like the greatest dad in the world”

  1. James Bennett says:

    Great story, Jens.

    I like to hear people talk about things like that. Being a Father of a boy and a baby girl myself… I love it when my kids look at me as their hero.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Many Regards,

    • jens says:

      Hi James,

      Isn’t it just amazing when we can be their heroes? In a few years, when they become teenagers, I’ll bet that they won’t be anywhere near the wheelbarrow and I’m probably not as cool anymore. So, I’m doing my best to make every day special and the hero status last for as long as possible 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

      – Jens

  2. Amy Parmenter says:

    I want a ride!!!

    Thx Jens! Great story about knowing your audience!

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

    • jens says:

      Hi Amy,

      Sure, I’ll give you a ride, just jump on board 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your feedback and support Amy.

      – Jens

  3. Dino Dogan says:

    Dude….awesome story and an awesome way to make a point about marketing no less. Also, I have to commend you for thinking outside the box on this one.

    • jens says:

      Hey Dino,

      I knew that I could use the wheelbarrow story for something, but it took me a while to realize that I could actually use it on my blog. At first I thought I was going to integrate it into the novel I’m writing, but since it’s about a serial killer and the wheelbarrow story is about my kids, I didn’t want it to be the way everybody remembered it 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the comment and awesome support Dino.

  4. Adrienne says:

    Love the story Jens and love that you shared this experience with us. Not being a mother myself, okay to my 7 year old dog, I can only imagine how those little ones look up to you so much. And this does relate to what we are doing here online too. As Dino said, “awesome way to make a point about marketing”.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and enjoy your weekend with your family.


    • jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I just got back home, and I have been offline for close to three days. It felt amazing, and a little scary. Because I didn’t know what was going on online, I felt like I missed a lot of things.

      When it comes to my experience with the wheelbarrow, I bet you can relate it to your dog as well. It’s all about targeting. The kids are still talking about it, and I’m going to use the wheelbarrow today to get my son to the kindergarten again 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your kind words Adrienne.

      – Jens

  5. Jens, I got to tell you man, this was awesome. Loved it bud. You targeted the right audience, you had their interests at heart, and you dared to be different. A ton of insights in there. Oh, and hot dogs and pancakes? Man, that sounds so much like something I would do!! Great article, love your new approach to things man. You’re really coming out and stretching in such a good way.


    • jens says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks a lot my friend. This means a lot to me, especially after driving 12 hours across Norway with my family. I just got back home, and it sort of feels like I have to start all over again with my blogging, since I’ve spent the last three days offline 🙂

      The real challenge with targeting the kids with hot dogs and pancakes and a wheelbarrow is that it’s very difficult to do any surprises anymore. They are always looking for something new and exciting 🙂

      Thanks again.

      – Jens

  6. Kavita says:

    Hi Jens. Loved the real story as an example connecting with marketing techniques. Being a mother of a six year old I understand how easy it is to make children understand a thing with stories, real and practical instances.

    Congrats for providing a practical approach to knowing about audience. I simply loved the article and enjoyed every word. I have immediately subscribed to your 21 Days to Marketing Success reports

    • jens says:

      Hi Kavita,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words. I bet you can relate to this when you’re a mother. It’s so much fun to do things like this for the kids. They really show how surprised they are, and how much they love things. And it’s really not that hard.

      Thanks a lot for subscribing to the reports. Please let me know if you believe I should do any editing. I’m still reading and adjusting 🙂

      Thanks again for your support Kavia, it means a lot to me.

      – Jens

  7. Martin Cooney says:

    Nice one Jens.
    My son is 13 years old and about the only hero act I seem to impress him with these days is buying him a new Xbox game or anything else that’s gadget related 🙂

    Though I do remember when he was about 7 y/o that he always got a real buzz with me towing him around the yard in an attached trailer when I was on the ride-on mower.

    It’s usually the simple things in life that can impress your kids – and those are also the fun times too

    • jens says:

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m just waiting for the xbox thing to happen to my kids as well. But, what’s important is that you know exactly what to do, you’re targeting your audience. With me, all you need to do is buy me a pizza, and I’ll do whatever you ask me to do 🙂

      • Martin Cooney says:

        hahaha well, he’s now transitioning from Xbox to girls so Phase 2 is set to begin as well as all those interesting conversations about the ‘girl subject’.

        Kind of funny when I first brought that subject up a few months ago – just so he knew I’m open to discussion and always there for him and to support him. He called me a weirdo 🙂

        Last week he brought it up so very cool I know he knows I’m there for him. And really, that’s a Dad’s role to support and nurture.

        Nice blog btw, Jens

        • jens says:

          I remember this phase as well, it wasn’t from xbox, but from a commodore 64 to girls, but it’s about the same. It’s important to have someone to talk to, because it’s close to impossible to talk to friends. They’re just thinking about the same things, and they’re probably just like him, they haven’t got a clue what it’s all about
          Keep supporting, sounds like you’re doing an awesome job (and thanks a lot for your comments).
          – Jens

  8. Scott Burkey says:

    This is awesome. My 4 kids absolutely love it when I do something as simple as push them around the yard in the wheelbarrow. For a kid that must be the greatest thing ever. A simple little ride in a wheelbarrow can be so cool when you are a little kid. I’m a good dad and I know you are too. Enjoy the ride buddy because the destination will be here too soon. Best wishes to you and your children.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Jens, what a heartwarming story! I loved how, with both the hot dog/pancake combo and the wheelbarrow, you thought “out of the box” instead of sticking to the game plan. Your creative, innovative approach will serve you well with your family, creative writing, blogging and business.

    Well done.

  10. Peter says:

    I am not a father at this time but I wish I could be in one day and I hope I can just like you that happy!!!

    • jens says:

      Hi Peter,

      I love being a father, and especially doing things that the kids love (and the other parents didn’t think of doing) 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment and your kind words Peter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | +