10 Life Lessons From the “Star Wars” Galaxy

Along with excitement and amazing visuals, the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo provide great teachable moments to share with kids.

Along with excitement and amazing visuals, the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo provide great teachable moments to share with our kids. Here are 10 to pass down (and perhaps remind ourselves along the way).

1 | Judge me by my size, do you?

Yoda is one of the greatest philosophers of our generation, spouting out little bits of wisdom. “Do or do not” is what he’s most remembered by, but his observation about his stature is a deeply important one. Our world simply isn’t built for children, and this can lead to a certain amount of frustration for kids who can’t quite reach something, or who are made to feel that they can’t accomplish anything until they’re older and bigger.

Even the smallest among us can accomplish great things.

2 | Patience

Parents with toddlers will probably relate to this one. Kids aren’t patient, for better or worse. The Jedi preach patience as a virtue, and it’s a truly valuable lesson: Taking the time to learn a concept, read a situation, or accomplish a task is usually the best way to do it correctly. At the same time, it’s important to be patient with children and to give them the time and space to learn and figure things out on their own.

3 | Appearances are deceiving

How often do we make a snap judgment based on someone’s appearance, where they live, where they work, or what they do? When The Empire dispatched soldiers to Endor, they ignored the tiny Ewoks; even the Rebels underestimated them at first. When the time came to take the fight to the Empire, however, they became a vital ally that tipped the balance of the Battle of Endor to the Rebels’ favor. Even tiny, teddy-bear-like aliens armed with stone-aged tools can surprise you when they’re properly motivated!

4 | “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.”

This might be a bit harder for younger children to grasp, but Obi Wan’s story to Luke about Anakin Skywalker being killed by Darth Vader was a nuanced one. It wasn’t literally correct, but it was a situation in which nuance was needed.

Children will ask about complicated situations that will require some tact, whether that’s discussion of a divorce, the loss of a pet, friend or loved one, or for why they’re moving to another town and school. It’s a good skill for parents to learn to convey information to their children, but also a useful concept for children to grasp later in life.

5 | Friends over self

One of the most triumphant points in “A New Hope” is when Han Solo returns to the Battle of Yavin to save Luke. The moment was a selfless move that put the interests of his friends over his own self-interest. Kids are selfish by nature. We care for their needs almost exclusively, and teaching them to put others before themselves is a trait that will be important throughout their lives.

6 | Girls are heroic

The “Star Wars” saga doesn’t have a great record with women. Despite its flaws, the films depicted incredibly heroic female characters such as Princess Leia, Mon Mothma, and Padme Amidala, as soldiers, but also as people in powerful positions in their world. “Star Wars” certainly isn’t a boy’s only arena, and that’s important for both boys and girls to learn.

7 | Choices matter

In a lot of ways, “Star Wars” is about the choices people make. Luke decides to help Obi-Wan deliver the Death Star plans to Alderaan. Han Solo decides to return and save Luke at Yavin. Luke decides to rescue his friends at Cloud City, and Darth Vader decides to save his son from the Emperor. Making good decisions is something that we’ll do throughout our lives, and the earlier children learn that particular skill, the better it is for everyone.

8 | Evil can be redeemed

Good and Evil are two major concepts that “Star Wars” plays with: the light side and the dark side. The factions are mirrored nicely in the film’s production – red light sabers for the bad guys, green and blue for the good guys. “Star Wars” is a classic story of good triumphing over evil, but in the larger story, it portrays the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, which shows that things aren’t always black and white.

9 | The world is a diverse place

One of the more notable things with the release of “Star Wars” was the creature and alien design. There were earlier science fiction films out there that had incorporated aliens, but there is nothing out there that really compared to the impact of seeing the Mos Eisley Cantina for the first time. Here was a group of aliens that weren’t involved in an invasion or even had any central importance to the plot – they were just filling in the world by having a drink or talking business. With the wide-open world of Star Wars comes incredible diversity, much like our own.

10 | Imagine

Star Wars had a huge impact on the artistic world – think of all of the movie directors, authors, scientists, and everyone else who were inspired by the films and went on to do great things. The film proved to be a force-multiplier for our imaginations by showing us an entirely new world in which to play. A vivid imagination is something that should be nurtured and grown, and “Star Wars” is one great way to get it supercharged.

5 Han Solo Quotes That Show What Being a Parent Really Means

We see a different side of Han Solo in The Force Awakens. (If you’re the only person in the world who hasn’t yet seen TFA, turn back! Spoilers within.)

The Force Awakens comes to Apple TV, Blu-ray, and other home platforms on April 5.

If you’re the only person who hasn’t seen the The Force Awakens, turn back! Major spoilers below.


 

Harrison Ford returns as the adventurous, wise, and ever-handsome Han Solo. We see a different side of him in The Force Awakens, though, because since his last appearance he has gone through the great transition of becoming a father.

Some of his lines in the film, then, truly capture what being a parent is all about.

If you’re the only person who hasn’t seen the The Force Awakens, turn back! Major spoilers below.

“You changed your hair.”

In the movie, Han and his wife, Princess Leia, separated when their son Ben went over to the dark side. That alone speaks of a parenting truism: kids can put a strain on the husband/wife relationship. But when Han sees Leia for the first time in years, the first thing he says is “you changed your hair.” He shows us that even when parenting gets tough, you and your partner can get through it by just showing that you care in those small simple ways. They’re real cute.

“That’s not how the Force works!”

During the film, Han becomes a father-figure to the two fugitives, Rey and Finn. Finn devises a plan to invade the First Order, but once they arrive there Han discovers that Finn is a little bit overconfident about his use of “the force.” Han speaks this line that resonates with parents everywhere when we just need to teach our kids the hard lessons, even if that means knocking them down a few pegs.

“Take off the Mask. You don’t need it.”

No matter how hard you try, your kid is going to make mistakes. Big ones. Han Solo’s realization that his son Ben has been completely taken over by the dark side is an obvious demonstration of that fact. But when Han meets Ben (now Kylo Ren) for the first time in years, this is what he says. He wants his son to know that he doesn’t need to pretend to be someone he isn’t anymore, and that he is perfect just the way he is. Han shows us that sometimes parenting is just being around to remind our kids of that fact.

“Yes. Anything.”

During their meeting, Kylo Ren asks Han Solo if he will help him. Without hesitation, Han administers this line, showing that being a parent means being prepared to give our all for our children, no matter what. Of course, only moments later, Kylo Ren stabs his father with his lightsaber and throws him off of a bridge to certain death. And that shows us that parenting really can feel like it’s going to destroy us in those tremendously difficult moments. But Han’s line here shows that he is ready to go down swinging for his kid and we should be too.

“How do we blow it up? There’s always a way to do that.”

Han Solo oozes confidence plenty of times during the film, but this line takes the confidence cake. He is working with the resistance to plot their attack of the First Order, and he is ready to do whatever it takes to defeat them. This quote shows his understanding that the good will prevail, no matter what. And sometimes we parents need to remind ourselves of that too. Even when things look extra challenging, we have control. And we can be confident about our parenting skills because we’re just damn good parents.

This Video of Kylo Ren Playing Flaming Bagpipes Will Make You Happy

Get yourself a fresh cup of coffee, watch this ridiculous video, and power through the rest of your day like the CHAMPION YOU ARE.

Honestly, I don’t think I have much to add to the title of this video: Kylo Ren Rides BB-8 and Plays Flaming Bagpipes in the Rain.

Ok, maybe just a few things.

First, let’s consider how many attempts Kylo made before he nailed this blessed video. Probably a whole bunch, right? Hello? It’s RAINING.

So, please, take a moment and give thanks to this guy for NEVER GIVING UP.

Second, note that Kylo masterfully covers Europe’s The Final Countdown.

I say masterfully because if you can play anything on the bagpipes that doesn’t sound like 27 geese being strangled, then, by golly, you are a master.

Add shooting flames and a seamless transition to the Star Wars theme song and, well, you’re a Jedi Master.

Finally, of the many storyline conspiracies surrounding The Force Awakens, we might have overlooked one crucial theory: that Kylo the Scot is actually a thwarted and misunderstood circus performer.

Mhmm. Put that theory in yer bagpipe and smoke play it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New BB-8 is Bigger and Smarter

The new BB-8 from Spin Master is bigger, smarter, and follows you around.

Last year, Sphero dominated the world of Star Wars The Force Awakens toys when BB-8 rolled into our homes and stole our hearts.

The adorable little app-controlled replica of the much-loved droid was the closest thing to having the real thing.

Until now.

At the recent New York Toy Fair, Spin Master unveiled its version of BB-8. Nearly 19″ tall (including two antennae), the droid is operated by a sleek handheld remote and recognizes voice commands. It even has a “Follow Me” setting which makes the loyal BB-8 roll alongside, following as you walk.

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That is to say, this BB-8 is more BB-8.

Clocking in at $180, consumers will have to have to wait until sometime in the fall to purchase the toy.

Which, thankfully, gives us plenty of time to figure out how to break the news to little Sphero.

Source: Gizmodo

 

 

 

 

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Jason Sudeikis’ Little Jedi Struggles With Light Saber

Jason Sudeikis’ adorable son thinks his light saber is a vacuum cleaner.

NERD ALERT: Jason Sudeikis generously bought his whole family lightsabers, and his son can’t figure out how to use it. GROAN.

The actor comedian appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and shared a video of his little Jedi, Otis, struggling to wield the weapon.

Instead of using its powers to destroy everything in sight like saaaay, a tantruming Kylo Ren might, the toddler points it downward, running it across the floor like a vacuum.

PULL IT TOGETHER, JUNIOR. Whatever that you’re not quite two. This is IMPORTANT.

Luckily GQ stepped in with basic how-to instructions to help other parents avoid this same fate:

  1. When in combat, hold above the waist. Don’t get caught napping.
  2. Make your own sound effects. Make-believe Jedis don’t giggle. The make fake laser-y sounds every time they slice that saber through the air.
  3. Use two hands, but use the handle. Don’t put your hand on the actual saber! Have some respect for its technology.

Meanwhile, if anyone has a light saber that doubles as a vacuum, get at me. I would definitely buy that product.

Source: GQ, Jimmy Kimmel

The Force Awakens Lego Star Wars Video Game Is Coming!

Mark your calendars, nerds! June 28 is the release date for the new Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens video game!

For my son, June 28 can’t come fast enough. Nope, it’s not the last day of school before summer vacation. It’s the release date for the new Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens video game! 

Which, for a whole new generation of Star Wars fans, is about as cool as ten weeks off from school.

The exciting news was confirmed yesterday on Twitter by the LEGO game developer, TT Games:

By the looks of the teaser, the new game stays true to the Star Wars time-tested formula of action and humor enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

So — 6.28.16 — mark it on the calendar, nerds!

Source: Wired, TTGames

Star Wars Lesson Plans with the New York Times

Engage students with what they love: The New York Times rounds up the best Star Wars lesson plans.

One of the best ways to engage kids in meaningful learning is to entice them with the things they know and love – like Star Wars. This New York Times article is an excellent round-up of lesson plans and ideas for doing just that.

Star Wars lesson plan possibilities, like space, are endless.  A few of the lessons outlined in the piece include exploring patterns of language with Yoda quotes, understanding the physics of space battles, considering how history repeats itself and, my favorite, a lesson in economics — Death Star: Too Big To Fail?

Parent.co’s article, 10 Best Star Wars Lessons for Kids, written by contributing writer Andrew Liptak, gets a nice shout out in the New York Times article. Among my favorites in Andrew’s list of lessons are Girls are Heroic and Appearances are Deceiving.

Hey, while we’re having the Star Wars conversation, take a minute and have a laugh with this bit: 28 Star Wars GIFs that Explain What It’s Like to be a Parent

And as always, in teaching and parenting, May The Force be With You.

Source: NYTimes

Star Wars Monopoly to Include Rey, Because Duh

Hasbro has stated it will include Rey (you know, the main character of the new Star Wars movie?) when it re-releases Star Wars Monopoly. Cool. And DUUUHHHH.

After enraged Star Wars fans, boys, girls, and people with brains took to the Internet in protest of Rey’s omission from Star Wars themed toys, Hasbro has stated it will re-release the toys, like the Star Wars MEN-opoly, and include Rey.

The Internet replied with a resounding DUUUUHHHHHH.

For context, Rey is THE MAIN CHARACTER in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And while we appreciate Has-BRO’s response, we’re not at all clear why we had to fight to have Rey included. Oh wait. Yes. Yes, we are.

Tactile Star Wars Parenting

With The Force Awakens out in theaters, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my relationship to the series, and how my own child has been introduced to the saga.

With The Force Awakens out in theaters, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my relationship to the series, and how my child has been introduced to the franchise. I’m a member of a group of costumers called the 501st Legion.

My own son has seen me in costume several times at events or at home: his first encounter was when he was just six months old, when we took him to Rhode Island Comic Con. As he got older, a fully helmeted trooper scared him, until one day that he asked to play Star Wars. Dressed up as the Jedi costume we made him for Halloween last year, he chased me around the yard fully armored, hitting me with a lightsaber. Since then, any stormtrooper he sees is ‘Daddy’.

The 501st Legion represents an interesting facet of Star Wars fandom: we’re builders who assemble incredibly detailed costumes from the universe. The group was originally founded in 1997 by fans who dressed up for the Special Editions, and who had set up a website to attract like-minded fans. The founding came at the right time: the children who had seen the original trilogy in theaters had grown up, and began to put their passions to work.

As the Legion group expanded, it’s pulled in entire families who have taken to the hobby as a family. Participation introduces Star Wars in a whole new way: rather than being a visual experience, it becomes a tactile one.

trooper
Andrew Liptak in his handmade Storm Trooper armor with his son.

Jodi Anderson recalls seeing the original trilogy as a child: “I saw at [A New Hope] at the Drive-In, but I don’t really remember much of it.  I do remember [Empire Strikes Back], and I was old enough to know how cool it was to be seeing [Return of the Jedi] in the theaters when that came out.”

Michael Brunco came to the series later in life: “I’d have to say my first memorable moment seeing Star Wars was as a young adult. It was shortly after news hit that a new trilogy was being made when I struck up a conversation with a co-worker,” He recalled “He mentioned that he had a copy of the [Original Trilogy] on VHS and would let me borrow his tapes, one by one of course. I remember watching and was instantly hooked with A New Hope. I felt a connection with that movie like nothing I had ever experienced with any other form of entertainment before.”

Both later became members of the 501st Legion years later: Anderson alternatively dressed up as Princess Leia, a Tusken Raider or a pilot for the massive AT-AT walkers. Brunco assembled an officer’s uniform and later, a TIE fighter pilot’s garb. Both were parents: Mike and his wife had a son (and years later, a second one), while Jodi and her husband recently had a daughter.

“By the time Attack of the Clones came out I was hooked on Star Wars, and I really wanted to share that with Mikey,” Brunco recalled. “He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which falls under the Autism Spectrum, and I felt it would help give him something to connect to.” Anderson had her daughter years after she had joined the 501st Legion: “Our daughter has been exposed to elements of Star Wars through her whole life…She ‘gets’ Star Wars more from the merchandise and characters she’s seen in real life.  The Golden Books have gone a long way in filling in the Star Wars myths for her, more recently.”

“We had friends with kids in the legion, and so when we were planning on having a kid we thought a lot about how they would fit into our life, and since the 501st and Rebel Legions are such a large part of our lives, we considered this too,” Anderson recounted. “She is growing up as a costumer and doesn’t have a fear of characters.  She knows that they are just folks in costumes (just like us).  Part of me feels a little bad for this, because it seems to remove some of the magic.  Sometimes, despite this, she still thinks our friends are the REAL character they are portraying.”

Brunco also brought along his son and even included him in troops: “I have been a member of the 501st since 2009 and for most of that time have included Mikey in my plans when trooping events.” He recalled. “As he got older I would bring him to events that I was trooping and on special occasions, after he grew and fit into my costume, would suit him up so that I could jump back into that wrangler or photographer role when needed.”
Both children have taken to costumes as well. Mike noted that both of his children have worn costumes of their own – his eldest is a member of the Rebel Legion (the light-side sister site of the 501st Legion), while his youngest is more comfortable around Star Wars characters than he is Santa. Anderson remembered that her daughter was only four months old when they brought her to her first comic con as a tiny Princess Leia. Now that she’s older, she’s asked for a Princess Leia and Sabine costume. “She also has the perspective that anything broken can be fixed, and anything you dream up can be made, and plays sewing (“Mama, I want to thread a new dress”).”

Most of all, Anderson and Brunco have enjoyed being able to share in their interests with their children: “Pairing that with dress up and social activity has just been awesome as an adult.  Now, it is just amazing to be able to provide that for my daughter.  It is like being a kid again!  I’ve always enjoyed being a character for random kids at events.  Right now, I think as a parent I have a better appreciation of the power and impact that can have. ”

Brunco concurs: “The only change is that it’s not my relationship with Star Wars anymore. It’s our relationship with Star Wars. We sit and watch Rebels on the DVR, we have random lightsaber duels in the dining room, run around the house with various ships and chase each other around, check out the Star Wars toy aisle at the store, and wear our Star Wars clothing with pride. It took a while for it to happen, but I’m not the only Star Wars fan in the house anymore.”

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10 Sci Fi Classics To Watch With Your Kids While You Wait For The Force Awakens

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Admittedly, it’s an older film, but Forbidden Planet is one of those older films that holds up nicely, even half a century later. It’s heroic, not too scary, and it’s a great forerunner to George Lucas’s epic. Robbie the Robot will be a big hit.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy Quest is a film with a classic comedic trope: a case of mistaken identity. Galaxy Quest is one of the funniest science fiction spoofs out there, and it’s a great space adventure with plenty of thrills and zany laughs.

The Last Starfighter (1984)

This is a fun adventure that brings a lonely teenager far into the depths of space when he’s recruited to help an alien species fend off an invasion. It’s every nerdy kid’s fantasy come to life: getting so good at a video game that you can save the universe. Plus, while the effects are a bit dated, they’re quite a bit of fun to watch.

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes a classic that you can’t miss as a kid. A team of astronauts find themselves on a planet inhabited by apes, and must find a way to prove that they’re people, rather than animals. The juxtaposition of apes and people is a fun one, and it’ll get them thinking.

Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running is an entertaining space drama that predates Star Wars by several years about an astronaut who decides to disobey orders to save a biosphere on his ship. The real draw here though is Huey, Lewie and Dewie, his small robotic companions that’ll give R2-D2 a run for his money.

Spaceballs (1987)

The pinnacle of science fiction comedies, Spaceballs is one of the best sendups of Star Wars out there. It’s goofy enough for kids to really enjoy it, with another level of gags for adults to really enjoy it as well.

Superman: The Movie (1987)

Richard Donner’s classic adaptation of the Superman comics is a bright, heroic and exciting film that’s held up well in the ensuing years. It shows off a wonderful heroic journey for Superman that’ll keep them at the edge of their seats.

Stargate (1994)

Stargate has a really exciting premise: step through a portal and arrive on another world. Oh, and the aliens who live on the other side live under Egyptian-like gods. This film is exciting, and it’s got a great set of heroic characters to carry the movie.

Titan A.E. (2000)

This animated science fiction adventure follows Cale after Earth is destroyed by aliens. When he grows up, he finds that his father left behind something: a way to rebuild humanity’s home. First, he has to find it, and along with a ship with a great cast of characters, the fate of humanity is in his hands. The visuals alone are worth watching this over and over.

Star Wars (1977)

While you’re waiting to watch The Force Awakens, why not start where it all began?