Some families watch sports together. Some families have annual football tournaments. Some families talk politics, or debate world problems. And we – well we – we train our kids in the ways of the Force.
We start them young, of course, as all padawan learners should start. Two or three years old is generally a good starting age to introduce the original Star Wars Trilogy. Starting with A New Hope, Star Wars Episode IV can be controversial for some, but we find that true Star Wars fanatics will agree – you must start at the beginning with Episode IV.
An obsession with light-sabers, Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knights, and the Force will soon follow. Soon, we will have lively dinner conversations debating important things like “Who is Rey, really?” and “How a tiny green feeble old alien can really be the best light saber fighter in the galaxy.” And of course, don’t get us started on whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better – they aren’t even in the same galaxy!
So, how did this obsession all start?
Well, I blame my parents – as all good psychologists will back me up on. The very first movie I ever saw was The Empire Strikes Back in the theater as a newborn. And although I don’t remember any of it, that early exposure must be to blame for my fetish.
And then there were my three older boy cousins, who insisted that we all play Star Wars when they came to visit. I didn’t know much about it then, but at five I was happy to be an Ewok – still my favorites. My sister Ella, since she was older, got to be Princess Leia. She wore her white slip for the part and put her hair up in two buns.
The true infatuation with the Force came at the age of eight, however. Back in the 1980s not many people had VCRs or movies in the home (well, not many people I knew, anyway), but we did have a video store that rented both. One summer evening, my dad brought home the rented VCR and Star Wars: A New Hope. He hooked up the VCR, made popcorn (an absolute necessity in our family), and we all gathered in the family room to watch. And I have never been the same since.
The following two nights, Dad rented The Empire Strikes Back, and finally The Return of the Jedi. Conversations in our family changed forever. We debated what would happen next, what happened before, and how the final trilogy would end. We got our cousins involved and spent a summer recording a cassette tape of Episode VII to send to George Lucas for inspiration. I had Star Wars birthday parties… you get the idea.
When I met my husband in college, I knew he was “the one” because not only did he agree that Star Wars was much better than Star Trek (although he really does like watching Star Trek – a flaw I was willing to overlook), but he had a “early” copy of Episode I – that may have not been totally legal… We spent a “date/not a date” (we had a lot of those) watching it on his desktop in his room. Ahh… love…
Then came the boys and we waited a whole three years to introduce them to the first trilogy. But unfortunately, at three and one, they weren’t too impressed yet – Lightning McQueen was a bit higher in their priority list. However, when we reintroduced them at five and three, they were Star Wars fans for life. And Mike and I, well, we feel like we have succeeded at this parenting thing…
So, what obsessions are you passing on to your kids?
May the Force be with you,