As I write this, I am waiting.
At some point very shortly, a series of events will begin, and at the end of those events, I will become a father. It's a bizarre place where I find myself, and I'm still having some trouble coming to terms with the reality of it all. Having said that, I'm also looking forward to all of the wonderful things that come with fatherhood. Most notably, sharing the things that I love with my child. I can only hope that my kid likes movies as much as I do. What the hell are we going to talk about otherwise?
Chief among the cinematic experiences I look forward to sharing with the tiny human are the Star Wars films. Considering that today is May the fourth, if I have a kid that's actually born today, then Star Wars is likely to be a major part of his or her life whether they like it or not. By the time the child is old enough, there will be a minimum of three full trilogies and who even knows how many spinoffs or other materials. Decisions will have to be made about when the right time to watch these films will be or what the best order is going to be. However, what's truly important about Star Wars isn't the sequence of the plot, it's the lessons that the story can impart. The saga's ideas are what's valuable. Here are all the things I hope my kid, and all others, learn from Star Wars.
Your Actions Are What Define You
The Force is this nebulous concept that works best when it's explained least. What it is or where it came from are irrelevant questions. What's important is that The Force is not inherently good or evil. It simply is. It's the decisions that people make about how to use it that define light vs. dark. In the same way that in reality people will judge you by your actions far more than your intentions. Everything you do has consequences, and it's entirely your choice to be a force for good... or not.
Hope Is Important, But It Also Requires Action
I absolutely loved the closing moments of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, seeing the Death Star plans getting carried through the transport ship while Darth Vader closed in behind. I loved the final moment with Princess Leia so much I didn't even notice that the CGI was a bit sketchy. Seeing her obtain those plans, and recognizing them as "hope," was a great moment. Hope is a tremendously powerful thing, but it's useless by itself. Nobody in Star Wars sits back and just waits for hope to do the job. Hope tells them that success is possible, then they still have to go do the work to make it happen.
Fear Leads To Anger, Anger Leads To Hate, Hate Leads To Suffering
Just about everything that comes out of Yoda's mouth could fall into the "words of wisdom" category and be included on this list. However, of all the things that the little green Jedi says, the most important thing for a child to understand is the connection between fear, anger, hate, and suffering. Those first two items can be difficult for anybody to avoid, but those last two items really must be managed. This means learning to control one's fear and anger. While Yoda would argue that fear and anger should be avoided altogether, the reality, which I believe the new trilogy might eventually try to teach us, is that they should simply be balanced with all other emotions. Ultimately, suffering can be reduced if the other emotions are dealt with properly.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Whether you're talking about how a little green guy is the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, or looking at a bunch of forest dwelling teddy bears taking down massive AT-AT Walkers, one should not judge based solely on appearance. By the same token, that old man who looks like a kindly grandfather could turn out to be a power-mad lunatic. Never judge somebody simply based on how they look because you have no real idea what they're capable of until you see how they act. Except maybe Jabba the Hutt. That guy was clearly just as bad as he looked.
There Is Strength In Diversity
Take a look at the people that make up the Rebellion and what do you see? Humans of different backgrounds, aliens, droids, all sorts of different creatures. The most eclectic group you could imagine. What does the Galactic Empire look like? It's a whole lot of white guys. The Empire actively discourages diversity, but the Rebellion embraces it. Diversity leads to a broader mindset, and learning different ways of thinking. It's because these different people work together that they eventually find success. As a child grows up in this world, understanding this is vital to success.
Destiny Is Bullshit
So many movies these days fall back on the idea of "destiny" as the only reason that a particular hero finds himself or herself on a particular quest. It creates this idea that if you weren't born lucky, your ability to accomplish great things is limited. The Star Wars prequels have one of those silly prophecies too, and Qui-Gon Jinn puts all of his faith in it. And the boy that's prophesied to be the savior ends up destroying everything. Nice work prophecy. Destiny is crap. We all start our lives in different places, but we also take an active role in how those lives unfold.
What lessons do you take away from the Star Wars saga? Share them with us below.