Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life lessons from a parenting pro

There are more parenting blogs on the internet than you can shake a stick at. They are filled with an endless supply of tips, tricks and stories to help guide you through your own parenting journey. The problem I have found is that they all seem to miss one vitally important aspect of parenting. I am concerned that this is not going to get better as the new generation of parents roll off the line. 

I agree that dealing with discipline issues, caring for sick kids, time management and being a loving parent are important - and most blogs do a good job of covering those aspects. The concern I have is about the new generation of parents I will refer to as the Pokemon Go kids. 

Distractions like Pokemon Go have taken the focus off the greatest parenting guide known to man - Star Wars. What we are ending up with is a generation of parents running around with their noses stuck in their smart phones looking for Pokemon hiding in the neighbor's yard. Although I feel the process of natural selection will limit this due to people walking into traffic while looking for Pokemon, it's still an issue I feel compelled to address. 

Many of you probably aren't aware of this, but the full name for Star Wars is actually "Star Wars: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Parenting." (Note: This is just as true as the fact that I'm a "parenting pro.") Since I'm sure this is news to most of you, please allow me to further explain this.

Star Wars teaches a number of valuable life lessons. If you were to watch each installment 20-30 times like I have, you would see it as clearly as I do. 

I Am Your Father
It should go without saying, but your kids need to know you're their father. Luke struggled with this for quite some time during the original Star Wars movies. My kids are fully aware of the fact that I am their father, but I like to remind them every chance I get. The best way I have found to remind them is by speaking through a box fan and telling saying "Girls, I am your father" in my best Dark Vader voice. They usually respond with "Oh Dad - We know that." That is proof that it works.

Good & Evil
The greatest lesson Star Wars teaches is the constant battle between good and evil. Life is filled with both and they're not always easy to identify. The quick and easy path (like the Dark Side) is appealing, but doesn't usually generate the desired end result. After multiple episodes of Star Wars, your children will have a better understanding of the difference between good and evil and the result of choosing one over the other. When my kids are overtired and crabby at the end of a long day, we refer to them as having crossed over to the dark side. I should point out that my wife even uses this phrase. This is amazing considering she has never seen Star Wars. I will take that as a personal win that the Force is so strong in me that it has allowed my wife to have a basic understanding of the dark and light sides of Star Wars. That or I talk about Star Wars too much.

Don't Give Up
If ever there was a reason to give up, the Rebel Alliance had it in Star Wars. They were always grossly outnumbered and facing technology far beyond their own resources. The lesson learned here is that they ever give up and they almost always succeeded. You could say they may not have won every battle, but they won the war. A single proton torpedo against the Death Star is exactly the same thing as learning to ride a bike or do a cartwheel. Well, maybe not, but if you drone on and on about Star Wars while your kids are doing something they are scared about and/or feel is impossible, they will get so confused that they do it anyway...and succeed.

Be Good To Others
It really should be second nature to be good to others, but society has shown us that it is not easily understood by many. You never know when that stranger you interact with in public will suddenly not be a stranger. There are a few great examples of this in Star Wars. Luke and Leia meet to only later find out they are brother and sister. Luke finds out late in life that his nemesis Darth Vader is his father. Han Solo and Princess Leia start out pretty much hating each other and then later getting married. The lesson is that you should be good to everyone you meet. You never know when that stranger you meet will end up sitting next to you in class, be your new boss, your new neighbor or even your future spouse. 

To sum this all up in easy to understand terms, just remember: "Star Wars - Good. Pokemon - Bad." If you remember that, you will have no problem raising children that will grow up to be great leaders and contribute great things to society. Until next time....