Anyone who has been a parent for even a few weeks will tell you that this gig is not easy. Part of what makes raising children so difficult is the myriad uncertainties that plague us. We may not always know what the best way to discipline is when our children are being particularly rancorous, or if we should let them walk to the playground by themselves, or if we should force them to eat their vegetables or if that's going to give them an unhealthy relationship with food in general. But, for nerd parents, there's something we can be certain about, maybe the one thing we've been certain about since we were, like, 4 years old: Star Wars.
Those movies have been there with us through a lot. They gave us a strong female role model in Princess Leia when we were surrounded by complacent maidens and wanted to see someone who reflected our own cheekiness and ambition. The concept of the Force helped us when our first pet died. (Can't you just imagine a hologram-like ghost of your poodle watching over you smiling? She's not "dead"; she's "one with the Force"! No? Well I did. May the Force be with you, Beulah.) And now they're going to be right by our side as we attempt this whole parenting thing.
Star Wars, by design, does what all the great stories do. The tale is at once detailed and specific to the characters and plot while universal to the point that the heroes journeys parallel our own (except Han Solo flying the Millennium Falcon and rising above his scoundrel-y ways is way more exciting than the real life story of us driving a piece of sh*t car in high school and slowly becoming less surly until we're finally not self-interested douchebags). Of course, kids don't consciously pick up on these more complex themes. They're just like "I'm going to be Chewbacca when I grow up!" And by God, you hope they can realize that dream somehow...
But even though they don't know it's happening, the larger themes are sinking into their little psyches, and watching this process as a fan and as a parent is pretty cool. You will be their guide into the geektastic world of Star Wars, like a Jedi master teaching her padawan, and there will be some universal truths and themes there, too.
Search your feelings: you know these seven points to be true...
You Have To Show Them The Originals Before The Prequels
The prequels are flashier, more juvenile, and more deliberately marketed to small children. In short: Your kids will probably like the prequels, despite their being crappy. And if they watch the prequels before the originals, you run the risk of having them think the originals are slow-paced or boring by comparison. This will not do. Instead, show them the Holy Trinity first and foremost. Then show them the prequels... or not. I really don't think too much is gained in viewing them at all, really. At the very least, consider showing the movies in Machete Order: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Return of the Jedi, which is actually a pretty interesting way to think about it.
It Will Be Some Time Before You Are Able To Explain What's Going On In Luke's Prophetic Vision Scene In Empire
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke has a prophetic/symbolic vision of battling Darth Vader, only to realize at the end that the face behind Vader's mask is his own. George Lucas was/is big into using archetype and mythological motifs in Star Wars, and it shows in this scene. But when you're a little kid, the whole sequence is confusing AF. It's like "Wait! How did Darth Vader get there? Oh no! Luke has to battle him! Ahhhhhh! Luke just cut off Darth Vader's head! Wait. Why is Luke behind Darth Vader's mask? Did he just kill himself?! Was Luke Darth Vader this whole time?! What is going on?!" It didn't click for a while for me, despite my folklore-loving mother trying to explain what symbolism was. Note to others: don't get too upset if your 3-year-old doesn't get symbolism.
There Is Little More Frustrating Than Trying To Get Your Hands On An Original VHS Release
George Lucas has an annoying quirk... OK, he has a few annoying quirks, but let me focus on one in particular: he constantly edits his work. So the version of Star Wars I know and loved as a child, the version I watched on VHS throughout the '80s and '90s? Pretty tricky to find these days. Because he released a digitally remastered version of the films in 1997, which wouldn't be too bad except they made a whole bunch of changes, including some whose mere mention can send nerds into a legit nerdrage. It's really annoying, because I don't need musical numbers of ghost Hayden Christensen inauthentically inserted into these movies. Take them away, George! Fans just want DVD/Blu-Ray versions of these movies, because who the hell has a VCR anymore, honestly?
The Toys You're Buying For Your Kids Are Really For You
It's the paradox of adulthood, right? When you're a kid, you want all the toys, but you don't have the money to buy them. When you're an adult, you are more likely to have the money to buy them, but you're not supposed to play with toys. Having kids provides the perfect cover to buy all the toys you've ever wanted without having the social stigma of being an adult with action figures. (Though, really, haters can go ahead and hate: you live your best life, fellow dorks!)
There Is No Heartbreak Quite Like Your Child Not Digging The Movies
It's rare, very rare, but it happens. Like, you're all pumped to show them A New Hope and at the end they're like "It was OK." And you're like, "Did we not just watch the same movie? Why are you doing this to me? I've never done anything but love you."
If this happens, remember, you can always show it to them again: it might catch on a second or third viewing! If that fails, well, you tried your best. Give them a big hug and a kiss and wish them good luck with their new parents.*
*please don't actually abandon your child for not liking Star Wars.
This Little Girl Is What Our Souls Look Like And All We Hope Our Children Will Become
In fact, there's a decent chance you decided to have kids after seeing this video.
These Movies Are Pure, Distilled Childhood
You've always loved this series, but it wasn't until you had kids that you realized how much of why you loved these movies has to do with your own fond childhood memories of them. That's not to say you don't love them in and of themselves (they're good effin' movies!), but whether they were a bright spot in a sad or tumultuous childhood or a highlight in a rosy childhood, watching them with your children recalls those warm, fuzzy feelings and it's awesome.
Images: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Giphy(6)