I am, what you would call, a life long fan. I was only 2 years old when that galaxy far, far, away, appeared on earth. As that wonderful story blasted onto movie screens across the world, I can still remember sitting and watching that first film, mesmerized by every detail of the story. My grandmother, to this day, still regales family and friends with the story of me, at the age of 3 or 4, retelling the story, in vivid detail, to her and my grandfather, as we drove for over 2 hours, through the snow, on the way to their house ? for the entire car trip.
I remember my very first action figure ? Darth Vader ? who was, in my 3-year-old mind, the most awesome character in the Star Wars universe. I remember my 6-year-old birthday party, complete with the cloud city centerpiece ? with the action figures, toys, and yes, the Darth Vader and Yoda underoos.
I was set.
As time passed, and I grew older, I continued to return to that galaxy far, far away ? in the form of books, comics, and even a new movie trilogy ? and through it all, my enjoyment of that story grew even deeper.
Now, as an adult, I have a son and daughter of my own. They have seen all of the movies, but what has really captured their attention has been the Clone Wars animated series. As I sat with them many Friday nights, I have an opportunity to share the excitement and enjoyment of that distant universe with them. I have something I can share with my children ? something I can use to touch their lives.
I have found as a parent, teacher, and now principal, this is something that is often very hard to find. I will admit, that much of what kids listen to and watch today boggles my mind ? it is often either way to advanced for where they should be in life ? or it is so mind numbing and annoying, that a trip to the dentist sounds more enjoyable.
Yet Star Wars is the opposite of either of these. Almost any child I interact with (whether my own, or my students) has something they like about this series of stories. This common interest, this common ground, is often a wonderful starting point when talking to them, and many times, it opens doors, that would never otherwise be open. It provides a shared experience across the generations, and gives a platform for interaction to take place.
As they grow and walk along this pathway of life, I have a tool I can use to discuss issues of life and help then as they learn and grow. I have a way to connect with my children, and my students, and pass on some of the important lessons they will need to succeed in life. Through these wonderful stories of George Lucas, I am able to open a door into my children?s lives, and I realize that Star Wars really does have something for everyone.
We all have a connection with young ones in our life ? whether our own children, students, nieces, nephews, god-children ? this list could go on and on. In these times, we need ways we can connect with these younglings, and share lessons and wisdom that will help them grow.
Through this regular column, I hope to share some of the lessons that I have seen in Star Wars and now have had to opportunity to share with my children, and even with some of my students. I hope as you read each posting, you will see some of these same connections, that you will share some of your experiences, and that these wonderful stories are something you can use to connect with those padawans in your life. Let the conversation begin.
Charles Mickles is married, a father of two, an elementary principal, author, speaker, and a lifetime Star Wars fan. In this column we will discuss many wonder life lessons that are seen in the Star Wars universe from the perspective of a parent. In this column, I hope to help us better reach and impact those little ones that we each know and love as they take those first steps into that galaxy far, far away.