Sunday, February 27, 2011

Introducing Star Wars

Lucas and his daddy are sitting on our living room couch staring up at the giant projection of a star destroyer crossing our dining room. We've got Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope (the first one released in 1977) projected onto our dining room wall, in prep for the Star Wars themed party we're holding for my Hubby. He is grinning from ear to ear, savouring the parenting moment that has finally come - introducing Star Wars to our son.

Now, don't me wrong, Lucas does know the basics of Star Wars. His name, after all, was partially influenced by the great creator of this epic dynasty. He knows R2D2 and Luke Skywalker are good guys, can recognize the Star Wars logo, and he does a pretty mean Darth Vader impression.

But I worry that the guns and ships and dark side will scare him half to death. He has had so little exposure to any violence that I think it'll overwhelm him. He already obsesses with identifying "good guys" and "bad guys" and interrogates us about why they are bad. In a movie where the dark side holds most of the power, how will he process that?

But when I'm honest with myself, I know I'm only putting off the inevitable. I know that one day he'll get swept into the Star Wars magic. In the same way he obsesses over cows and massage chairs, he'll get obsessed with the force. And I know Star Wars is an incredible story that draws from myths deeply imbedded in our culture which has stood the test of time. And it will be incredible that he'll have this interest to share with his father (and hopefully his father will share some of his toys too)!

But it's the weapons that I'm not a big fan of. I pick up Hubby's clone trooper gun that we've put out for the party, shoot it aimlessly and hear it fire (because that's what you do when you see a toy guy). He grabs it from me. "How did you do that? Where did that sound come from? What does this do?" He knows it's a gun, he knows about "shooting", but I honestly don't think he's put it all together, and we haven't helped him. But the toy enthalls him. As will the lightsabers. And the ships. And soon enough, he'll figure out that guns fire (and that Han shot first of course) and that lightsabers can kill, and that bad guys can really be bad guys.

And I know that it's my own fear of violence that makes me shelter him from shows like Star Wars. It's not about Star Wars at all. I just prefer to keep him innocent for as long as possible, because I know most boyhood entertainment centres around some kind of battle or weaponry. But as I previously wrote in "Shielding my Son from Violence", I also know I can't keep in him a bubble forever.

So, since we're having this Star Wars party, we figure it's time Lucas gets his first glimpse at the movie that makes his Daddy so happy. He is riveted to the beginning, asking questions about the ship, about R2D2. But as Darth Vader enters the scene, flanked by his stormtroopers, and the menacing music begins, he squirms off the couch. "I don't want to watch this show anymore." 

I breathe a sigh of relief. He knows what he can handle. And it hits me that I don't have to be the shield, I don't have to know when the right time is to introduce him to "big boy" shows. He'll know when he's ready and Daddy will be ready to watch it with him then too. In the meantime, I guess we're stuck with watching Clifford the Big Red Dog day and night.


For any Star Wars fans out there, there is a very amusing YouTube video about dads talking to thie kids about Star Wars.


Anonymous said...

My boys live, eat and breath Star Wars. I tell my oldest if he would put as much energy and effort into school as he does Star Wars, he would be a straight A student. Someday I am going to write any essay "everything my boys know they learned from Star Wars" or something like that.

Anonymous said...

PS we have the cookie cutters, too...nightmare to decorate them! Also have pancake molds, apron, and pancake flipper...thank you uncle who is SW fan....

liesl said...

Thanks for commenting! Can't wait to read your essay someday!

waytenmom said...

First of all, those are some amazing yoda cookies. Woo hoo! Second, I went to see the first (first to show anyway) Star Wars when I was 10 and didn't "get it." I was forced to go again by friends shortly thereafter and there was no turning back. I think I went every weekend after that for like ten weeks!

Hopefully admitting this to someone in Canada will not get me ridden out of town on a rail, but my son plays Black Ops Prestige Edition (that may be the wrong name, it just means shooting all the time) constantly - it scares the crap out of me. I have lost this parenting battle (or failed to fight?) but I still worry.

Boys ....

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