Star Wars has been a part of our collective childhoods since the seventies and with Disney planning on expanding the Star Wars presence in their theme parks, it looks like it will be for many years to come. It is here where I must hesitantly admit that my son, just six years old, is hooked. On Darth Vader!
One of the most evil characters ever created. He has a Darth Vader Christmas ornament that he once carries with him wherever he went. One night he actually slept with it. Whenever we play Star Wars, he always gets to be Darth Vader and I am left to choose one of the other major characters. I don’t mind. Why would I, a grown adult, ever choose to play such an evil role?
Why would I want that kind of power?
Why would I want to be the only one making decisions?
Why would I demand that everyone look to me for answers when I enter a room?
I'll never forget what took place a few years when we went to decorate our Christmas Tree. It's often a special time, as it allows us an opportunity to relive past Christmases through our vast collection of ornaments that we’ve acquired over the years. Being able to relive moments such as our first Christmas together or our children’s first Christmases are priceless. That is why I worried when my three and nine-year old began to handle these fragile keepsakes. Every time they went to hang an ornament that appeared to be the least bit breakable, I cringed. I couldn’t help it. There were ten years worth of memories they were hanging.
Please be careful.
Please don’t break anything!
I shouldn’t have allowed them to hang the fragile ones!
Well, as you can see above, the tree is fully decorated. And only two ornaments were broken in the process. Not bad when you consider that over one hundred were hung. Oh, and I forgot to mention one important detail. The two ornaments that were broken. Well let me just say that not a single ornament was broken by my three or nine-year old.
Our innate reaction is to not trust kids, yet we make the same mistakes, if not more than them.
So by now you may be wondering why I chose the title. Well, as I ponder why my son is obsessed with Darth Vader I can’t help but wish he were attracted to some other, more noble Star Wars character. I don't know, say Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Then again, he had been keenly observant in the three and half years he had been on this Earth. I’m sure he had taken mental notes as to how the world worked and how he could best navigate its unpredictability. Furthermore, I’m sure he had noticed that he lives in a world in which he has very little input and must simply do what he is told. I’m slowly beginning to see why he always chose to be Darth Vader.
In the first Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi spent much time mentoring Luke on the ways of the Force. Throughout the movie it is clear that he is quite powerful, yet it is not until the climax of the movie, when Obi-Wan allowed Darth Vader to strike him down, that we in fact realize just how powerful he truly was. The moment he laid down his light saber and trusted Luke to carry the Force, was the moment that he became infinitely powerful.
Is it too late to try to influence my son’s choice? And what about those that have more years than my son? If they had to choose, would they pick Darth Vader? Or would Obi-Wan get a few votes? I guess it all depends on the world in which they live? Do they encounter more Darth’s or do they encounter more Obi-Wan’s?
As I reflect on that weekend, I realize that I still had much to learn.
I learned that I needed to play an even smaller role in decorating our Christmas tree.
I learned that while my son likes Darth Vader, there still may be time for him to choose Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And, more than anything I learned that this choice has as much to do with me and my ability to let go as it does with a black cape and a deep voice.
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