“Only in the darkness, can you see the stars” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Out of the darkness, a simple line appears, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”. As it quietly fades into black, two giant words fill the screen as a majestic overture trumpets the start of one of the greatest movies of all time: Star Wars.
As the title recedes, an introduction to the story begins with a few short paragraphs. The first few lines, Episode IV, A New Hope, tells us all we need to know. Few scenes are more memorable in cinema history. In this simple introduction, that far away galaxy is unveiled, and for many of us, we are whisked away on a journey that encompasses a lifetime.
So much is conveyed by the three word title - A New Hope. It is dark. The future up until now has appeared bleak, and it does not look promising. As you continue to read, you see just how dark it is. An evil empire as taken control, and they rule with an iron fist. Possessing the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, they spread terror through the galaxy, wiping out entire civilizations with a single word.
Yet even in this dark and desperate time, there is a small band of rebels clinging to the hope of a brighter tomorrow. They cling to the belief that even in this darkest of times, there can still be a brighter future. There can be a new tomorrow that brings the hope they cling to into reality.
Little do they know, that on a small, backwater planet, their hope is the son of a simple moister farmer. Living on a planet furthest from that “bright center of the universe” is a young man destine to change the course of not only his life, but that of the entire galaxy.
As we watch, we see this man take the first few steps on a path that will “forever dominate his destiny”. He and many others in the “insignificant rebellion” come to change the course of history in this far away galaxy, simply by refusing to give up hope. Even in the face of impossible odds, failures, and setbacks, they choose to fight on and continue to believe. Their hope and belief sustains them, even in the darkest of times.
The older I have grown, the more I have realized the importance of never losing hope. This is something that seems to be in short supply these days. With so many things happening, it is easy to just throw up your hands and give up. Day after day, setback after setback, even news story after news story, it can sometimes feel hopeless.
As a parent and a principal, I see this so often in our children. When faced with setbacks, challenges, or failures, our young people resign themselves to the fact that they will never accomplish it, and simply give up hope. They lose faith that they can overcome or change things, and instead, at such an early age, give up, and chose to live in defeat.
Imagine how the story of Star Wars would have ended, if the rebels, after some set backs, had simply given up and decided to live in the reality of Empire control. What if they had lost hope, and not continued to fight and struggle to overcome? I doubt we would have had that wonderful little Ewok celebration.
Our children need to see the importance of this hope and never giving up. They need to know that there is always hope. Each day is a new day. Each event in life, each problem we encounter, is a chance for us to act from a hope that things can change, and that things can get better.
Children do not always see this naturally, and we as parents or the adults in their life need to help them see life from this viewpoint. We need to help them approach each situation with a hope and belief that they can accomplish, succeed, and overcome. We must help them find and live in that place of hope that can sustain them and carry them even in the darkness, when all hope seems to be lost. Today, more than ever, our children need to see this, and need to believe that tomorrow is a new day, the sun will rise, and as long as breath is drawn, there is always hope.
This is one of the few lessons I learned watching that galaxy far, far away. As a child, these stories were amazing. They captured my imagination in a way few other things have. I saw things I had never imagined, and learned lessons I would carry with me throughout my life. Now, as an adult, I see these stories in a whole new light, and I have the joy of sharing them with my children.
I have the opportunity to pass these tales, and the wonderful life applications contained in each one, on to my children. I have the joy of getting to share this wonderful galaxy with them, and impact their life much the same way mine was touched. Through this regular column, I hope to share many of these same lessons from that wonderful galaxy, and give us as parents tools to reach those younglings in our lives.
This lesson of hope has been so critical in my life, and has sustained me through some very dark valleys. As a parent, it is essential that I pass this same lesson on to my children and remind them that hope is never lost, as long as we chose to believe.