The latest Star Wars movie brought a new generation of fans to the cinema for their first introduction to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Along with excitement and amazing visuals, the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo provide great teachable moments to share with our kids. Here are ten to pass down (and perhaps remember ourselves along the way).
1 | Judge me by my size, do you?
Yoda is one of the greatest philosophers of our generation, spouting out little bits of wisdom. Do Or Do Not is what he’s most remembered by, but his observation about his stature is a deeply important one. Our world simply isn’t always built for children, and this can lead to a certain amount of frustration for kids who can’t quite reach something, or who are made to feel that they can’t accomplish anything until they’re older and bigger.
Size doesn’t matter, whether that’s in terms of physical size or stature: everyone can accomplish great things.
2 | Patience
Parents with toddlers will probably relate to this one. Kids aren’t patient, for better or worse. The Jedi preach patience as a virtue, and it’s a good lesson to learn: taking the time to learn a concept, read a situation or accomplish a task is usually the best way to do it correctly. At the same time, it’s important to be patient with children and to give them the time and space to learn and figure out things on their own.
3 | Appearances Are Deceiving
How often do we make a snap judgment based on someone’s appearance, where they live, where they work, or what they do? When The Empire dispatched soldiers to Endor, they ignored the tiny Ewoks; even the Rebels underestimated them at first. When the time came to take the fight to the Empire, however, they became a vital ally that tipped the balance of the Battle of Endor to the Rebels’ favor. Even tiny, teddy-bear-like aliens armed with stone-aged tools can surprise you when they’re properly motivated!
4 | What I Said Was True, From A Certain Point of View
This might be a bit harder for younger children to grasp, but when Obi Wan’s story to Luke about his Anakin Skywalker being killed by Darth Vader was a nuanced one. It wasn’t literally correct, but it was a situation in which nuance was needed: children will ask about complicated situations that will require some tact, whether that’s discussion of a divorce, the loss of a pet, friend or loved one, or for why they’re moving to another town and school. It’s a good skill for parents to learn to convey information to their children, but also a useful concept for children to grasp later in life.
5 | Friends Over Self
One of the most triumphant points in A New Hope is when Han Solo returns to the Battle of Yavin to save Luke. The moment was a selfless move that put the interests of his friends over his own self-interest. Kids are selfish by nature and environment: we care for their needs almost exclusively, and teaching them to put others before themselves is a trait that will be important throughout their lives.
6 | Girls are Heroic
Star Wars doesn’t have a great record with women, but it’s looking like The Force Awakens will be changing that quite a bit. Despite its flaws, Star Wars depicted incredibly heroic female characters such as Princess Leia, Mon Mothma, and Padme Amidala, as soldiers, but also as people in powerful positions in their world. Star Wars certainly isn’t a boy’s only arena, and that’s important for both boys and girls to learn.
7 | Choices Matter
In a lot of ways, Star Wars is about the choices people make. Luke decides to help Obi-Wan deliver the Death Star plans to Alderaan. Han Solo decides to return and save Luke at Yavin. Luke decides to rescue his friends at Cloud City, and Darth Vader decides to save his son from the Emperor. Making good decisions is something that we’ll do throughout our lives, and the earlier children learn that particular skill, the better it is for everyone.
8 | Evil Can Be Redeemed
Good and Evil are two major concepts that Star Wars plays with: the light side and the dark side. The factions are mirrored nicely in the film’s production: red light sabers for the bad guys, green and blue for the good guys. Star Wars is a classic story of good triumphing over evil, but in the larger story, it portrays one of a fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, which shows that things aren’t always black and white.
9 | The World Is A Diverse Place
One of the more notable things with the release of Star Wars was the creature and alien design. There were earlier science fiction films out there that had incorporated aliens, but there is nothing out there that really compared to the impact of seeing the Mos Eisley Cantina for the first time. Here was a group of aliens that weren’t involved in an invasion or even that had any central importance to the plot: they were just filling in the world by having a drink or talking business. With the wide-open world of Star Wars comes incredible diversity, much like our own.
10 | Imagine
Star Wars had a huge impact on the artistic world – think of all of the movie directors, authors, scientists and everyone else who were inspired by the films and went on to do great things. The film proved to be a force-multiplier for our imaginations by showing us an entirely new world in which to play in. A vivid imagination is something that should be nurtured and grown, and Star Wars is one great way to get it supercharged.