Favorite Books, On Parenting, Social and Emotional Learning

Making Peace with Star Wars

My husband and I put a lot of effort into keeping our home free from violent media influences.  It’s an uphill battle that we’re committed to fighting, and one that sometimes requires a little creative thinking.

Zachary’s male classmates (ages 3 and 4) are fascinated by Star Wars.  Yes, you read right: ages 3 and 4, not 13 and 14.  They know all the characters, all the spaceships, and, of course, all the violence that goes with it.  Zach would come home every day, his head a jumble of confusion: Who is Star Wars?  Is he a good guy or a bad guy?  Does Luke Skywalker walk on the sky?  What does a light saber do?  Can it kill you?  If it kills you, are you dead?  Is Darth Vader a bad guy or a good guy?

We were very frustrated by this turn of events and found it difficult to answer his questions without confusing him even more.  We told him Star Wars was a “once-upon-a-time” story, explained that what his friends called “bad guys” are really people who were feeling sad or angry and didn’t know what to do with their feelings, and allowed him to buy a plastic light saber (with his own money, of course!) so he could see that it was just a harmless toy.  But still, the confusion reigned supreme and overshadowed all his other interests.

I kept wishing there were a book that summarized the basics of the Star Wars story without the violence inherent to the plot.  I searched fruitlessly for weeks, until – just before Father’s Day – I came across Darth Vader and Son.  Stroke. Of. Genius.

darthIt features 4-year-old Luke Skywalker (the same age as Zachary) engaging with his sometimes clueless and exasperated dad, Darth Vader, in many of the same scenarios that my son and his dad experience week to week.  The “I-don’t-have-to-pee” dance; the “I-won’t-pick-up-my-toys” battle… You get the idea.

It’s gentle enough for my very innocent 4-year-old to enjoy, and yet it has lots of references to the movie series, which my Star Wars-loving hubby really appreciated!

The mystique of Star Wars quickly faded from Zachary’s mind once he and his dad had read the book a few times.  Now, they quote bits from the book when the real-life situation mirrors what Luke and Darth experienced, and they share a laugh.

We might not always win the battle against mainstream media influences, but in this case, the force was with us!!

*This post includes an affiliate link.


4 thoughts on “Making Peace with Star Wars”

  1. I was recently just thinking how nice it would be if I could gang up with parents in my children’s school and show our kids only a selection of pre-approved films. Certainly such shared cultural references, though decidedly retro, could hopefully overtake the one at school! We showed our kids the old Oliver! musical and for two weeks afterwards they were going about humming snippets of the songs. (though my son has since advised me to skip the scary part near the end).

    It’s cool that you and your husband are on the same page and have found a nice strategy to cope with this!

  2. You won’te believe it but my son (4) and his classmates are also into Star Wars!!! And we live on a tiny island of Cyprus! My son has never set eyes on anything remotely star wars until the kids at school dressed up for a carnival celebration and low and behold there was Darth Veda and Luke and all the other characters at school ! I was never a fan of Star Wars so I don’t even know the names of the rest of the characters but I agree with you fully regarding the violence that the kids are subjected to on a day to day basis without regard to their growing mind and emotions and spirit! I like how you handled the ‘bad guy’ label !

    We too try hard at home to provide an environment that is free of violence and promotes healthy, loving relationships but the truth is,the influence from outside is strong.

    I’ll check out the book!

  3. This is definitely an incredibly rich resource that you have spent so much valuable time developing, I’ll recommend it to parents at our school as well as link to it in our Montessori Resources section so that our teachers can take a look. Also, my 5 year old nephew is so hardcore into star wars i am sending this to his parents post haste. Thanks!

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