My husband warned me if I posted this I might loose all my readers due to extremely nerdy content. I apologize in advance!
A few months ago as I was thumbing through the DVDs at our library I was thrilled to come across Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I loved that movie as a kid! I could hardly wait to find a night to watch it with my boys. Pirates, an old flying car, a castle, Dick Van Dyke…what’s not to love?? It’s a classic! The night came and we all sat on our couch with popcorn bowls. It didn’t take long before my boys were in a panic. Who would have guessed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang would be too scary? I suppose I should have known (the kid snatcher, hellooo Mom!) given our track record with movies. My kids are scared of anything moving on screen. Babe: No way. The Fox and the Hound: Didn’t make it through the first five minutes. Toy Story: Baaad idea. Winnie the Pooh: I’m not even kidding. Too scary. After my Chitty Chitty Bang Bang attempt I’d pretty well resigned myself to Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood forever more (at least Fred Rodgers is one of my favorite people ever).
You can totally understand my reaction when my husband came to me last week and said, “Dear, I think it’s time our children were taught the ways of the force.” I laughed out loud. I tried to remind him of the night we attempted to watch The Rescuers Down Under. “Star Wars? Our kids will have nightmares until they are 23!” Somehow he won, and somehow he convinced our two oldest boys to sit down and not cover their eyes the entire movie. He must have used some crazy Jedi mind trick, I’m sure.
Boy, was I ever wrong. How Chitty Chitty Bang Bang could be deemed terrifying, but Star Wars the coolest, most amazing two hours of screen time they’d ever had totally baffled me. Luke Skywalker became their hero over night. Lightsaber wars were being fought at every turn. They were well on their way to knowing the “ways of the force.”
This week as I’ve had Jedi Knights running around the house trying to destroy a massive imaginary Death Star in a galaxy far, far away I’ve thought about our world here. In some ways I wish that the fight between good and evil were as clear-cut as it is in Star Wars. Ours is not a fight between the evil galactic empire, clone troopers, or the evil jedi-gone-bad emperor. Just as scary though is our fight to save a morally declining society. A society that sees life as indispensable when it’s inconvenient to care for it. An attitude that we aren’t responsible for our actions. A society that has little respect for the God who gave us life. Our “Role Models” teach our children that things are more important than people, that the opposite sex is simply to lust after, and that their most valuable asset is their looks, not abilities. Our society teaches our children that the family is old-fashioned. Something not worth working for and holding dear. Differing opinions are not matters to discuss, but to cause hate, hurtful words, and even violence. Ours is not a war between two physical forces. Ours is much more difficult to define, but just as important to fight.
As cliché and incredibly nerdy as this sounds, Star Wars is full of life lessons. I hope that my sons, though they are young, will catch on and learn them so that they can be brave and fight for what’s right. Here are some life lessons I found from long ago, in a galaxy in turmoil far, far away…
Be proactive. We can’t just Idley sit back and watch hoping something will change. We have to DO. From the wise words of Master Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Stand up for what is good and right, even when it isn’t easy. Even when you’re the only one standing.
Fight with love, never with hate.
Find good friends. Be a good Friend. be willing to stand by that friendship with everything you have. Hahn Solo and Luke were willing to risk their lives for each other.
Look for the good in everyone. Even Darth Vader had good left in him.
No matter how far gone you are or you think someone else is, there’s always a way back. Vader saved Luke and changed the fate of the galaxy even after the horrific wrongs he’d committed.
Believe in yourself, but have faith in a power greater than your own.
What’s right is not always (or rarely is) what’s popular.
Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t do amazing things (think Yoda).
Doing the right thing is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it.
Every morning when my kids get ready for school I pray that they can be an influence for good in the world. I pray that when bad things happen, they can have the courage to do what is right. As young as they are, I’ve seen divine guidance in their lives and I know that they can make a difference. I know that they will be able to with the help of a Savior, a family that loves them, and good friends that will stand by them. Star Wars is just a good, fun movie, but I believe the life lessons really are ones worth living by. Life lessons I hope my sons will learn.
And I’m optimistic that someday I’ll be able to write about the night my kids bravely made it through Chitty Chitty Bang Bang without a single tear.