Yes, I let my kids watch Star Wars movies. Evidently this is a controversy in some parts of our first world country….? So much so that I felt compelled to write an article on the topic to help share with my non-Star Wars fan parents out there why it’s actually ok (in my opinion) to let my kids watch Star Wars.
While talking with another parent I was asked “you let them watch THAT?” She was referring to Star Wars, her eyes wide with wonder and intrigue and her mouth curled down possibly in disgust.
I smiled, paused and then politely replied “yes, I let my kids watch Star Wars.”
I actually get asked this question a lot. Or a mother will look at me with a horrified expression on her face as I share our annual winter tradition of cozying up to watch the entire original Star Wars trilogy.
I will say that we watch the original trilogy because most of the new movies (in my opinion lack the emotional charm and integrity of the original three.) That is a topic for another article – possibly on another blog.
Anyway, I’ll go into the reasons why I let my kids watch Star Wars,.. but first, a disclosure.
My personal disclosure about violence
Some parents are put off by the violence in the Star Wars movies and I totally understand that point of view. Let me just say, I don’t much care for violence in movies either. Especially violence that is just for the sake of razzle-dazzle effects.
I also don’t condone violence in real life. If you’ve read my articles How to Talk with Your Kids about School Violence or Raising Safety Smart Kids in an Era of School Shootings then you already know I take violence very seriously.
Therefore, before we ever let our kids watch Star Wars movies we had a long talk about hurting other people. Our boys were ages 5 and 7 the first time they watched the original trilogy. We talked about how unintentionally even during “play” we can accidentally hurt someone. Conversely, though, we talked about the importance of self-defense and it’s okay to stick up for yourself or those you love if you’ve tried every other means necessary.
We also talked about the magic of movies. (Ok, in all honesty, the magic of movies is an ongoing topic in our home. My sons and I love to break down how movies are made.) Anywhoo – we discussed that the movies aren’t real and that in real life we don’t swing swords at people.
So if we had to put up this disclaimer with our kids, why did we let our kids watch Star Wars?
Star Wars is a Part of Iconic Pop Culture History
I grew up with Star Wars. I remember being about the age of my oldest son, just 7-years-old and going to the theatre with my mom to see Return of the Jedi.
Watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi on the big screen at the theatre with my mom and older sister was exhilarating to say the least. I remember eating a bag of popcorn as big as my little head. I clearly recall the crowd cheering when the main stars Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia rallied and conquered Jabba the Hutt after what seemed like a perilous situation (sorry for the spoiler alert if you haven’t seen this movie classic yet.)
Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia that pushes me to allow my kids to watch the original Star Wars movies. In my defense I will say they also learn lessons by watching the original trilogy. I share those below.
Just in case you’re not aware, here are the titles and years of the original three Star Wars movies:
Life Lessons My Kids Learn from Star Wars
As I’ve stated previously in this article, I am referring to the original Star Wars trilogy. While all the Star Wars movies offer some kind of lesson in them, my husband and I are beholden to the three classics because of their wit, charm, in a way their innocence, and the lessons they teach.
Lesson #1 – Friendship
Throughout all of the original three Star Wars movies we see marks of true friendship. Han Solo saves Luke in pursuit of blowing up the Death Star even though it would be more advantageous for Han to take his money and run. He saves him again in the Empire Strikes Back. Luke & Princess Leia save Hon Solo from Jabba the Hutt against great odds. Chewbacca is Han’s eternal BFF through many close calls and the droids, C3PO and R2D2 are forever loyal. They all show true marks of friendship throughout the original three movies.
Lesson #2 – Let’s All Just Get Along
The personalities of the original cast are delightfully different and colorful. Through their diversity my children are learning that even though we may not look the same, or speak the same languages, or even get along all the time – we can be friends.
Lesson #3 – Stand Up For What You Believe In
The heroes of the original trilogy rose up through diversity countless times. They battled formidable forces of epic proportions in Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.
I know these are just movies but the characters are truly what makes the original Star Wars movies and their lessons stand out. Despite facing adversity, the characters display tremendous heart, warmth and courage.
Note: I once read at the History of Star Wars that George Lucas’ ex-wife was responsible for creating the resonating personalities of the characters in the first three films. Some say that is why subsequent films seem colder, more action-driven and not as good.
Lesson #4 – There is Something Greater Than Ourselves
I’m sure some people will fight me on this one, but please read this in its entirety before sending me hate mail.
From a Faith point of view I struggled with allowing our kids to watch Star Wars. But as I rewatched the three original films as an adult I saw similarities to Christianity that intrigued me.
The ‘Force’ is often referred to in Star Wars. It is an invisible essence that is around us and in us – much like the Holy Spirit. Also much like Christianity, the “way of the Force” is about giving into the force, and choosing love over hate. Conversely, the “Dark Side” clearly makes me think of the devil. Much like the devil, the dark side is twisted, manipulative, self-serving and based primarily in hatred.
Lesson #5 – It’s Never Too Late to Turn Things Around
My word this year is Grace (link to the article.) Part of grace is to forgive others, and realize they can change and we can change. It’s never too late to do the right thing. My favorite demonstration of this comes in Star Wars IV – A New Hope when Han Solo chooses to return and help Luke take down the Death Star rather than take his reward money and leave, even though this certainly means further doom for Solo later.
Lesson #6 – Trust your gut
If you’re a fan of Star Wars you have heard the phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” at least once – if not many times. It’s used throughout the nostalgic series as one character or another generally says “I have a bad feeling about this” before something bad happens. I think we have clearly learned through Star Wars to just trust our gut.
Lesson #7 – You Are the Company You Keep
In the bible, it says “bad company corrupts good morals” – 1 Corinthians 15:33. Star Wars definitely drives home the notion that “you are the company you keep.”
Hon Solo is a great example. At his core, he’s a character with good morals, but he kept bad company. He dealt with scoundrels and is, therefore, became one himself. He was buddies with the likes of Lando Carlrission who sold him to Darth Vader just to save himself. And Han made deals with creatures like Jabba the Hutt which ultimately resulted in a carbonite nap.
Lesson #8 – Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Through his dealings with Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo also taught us to never make promises you can’t keep. An important lesson for anyone to learn for life.
Lesson #9 – There is No Try, Only Do
In the great words of Yoda. There is no try, only do. Such true and inspiring words. Psychologists have found when we insert the word “try” into a statement it puts a buffer between us and the action.
For instance how many times have you been invited to an event and you’ve replied “I’ll try to make it.” Chances are 9 times out of 10 you don’t make it.
The word try gives your mind a way out. Your thoughts lead to your actions or inaction.
Lesson #10 – Hope is Contagious
When you have hope it spreads like wildfire. Hope is energizing and contagious. It takes us through the battles of our mind and our reality and allows us to do things we may not otherwise do.
Do your kids watch Star Wars? Start a conversation about it in our Momalot Facebook group.