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My son thinks he's a Jedi.


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#1 TWC

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:10 PM

No, that's not right. My six-year-old son is a Jedi.

He's a big Star Wars geek, to be sure, and his laser like focus on all things Star Wars is amazing. The Star Wars universe has grown far beyond what I (and most of us) knew as kids, and my boy absorbs everything. He reads (and re-reads) his Star Wars character encyclopedias; flips through his Star Wars comics; battles with his Lego sets; dresses in Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight garb (all black clothing and a cape); and, at night, while my wife and I are asleep, he pushes a secret button causing his starship to arise from its secret hiding space in the backyard, and he flies off into space to do battle for the good of the Jedi Order.

His imagination is breathtaking, really. Many mornings he will walk into our room to tell us of the latest adventure and narrow escape he had the night before. And if the new planetary systems he visits during the night coincide with those introduced during most recent episode of the Clone Wars, well, that's just happenstance.

He is vehement when faced with skepticism. He's gotten into numerous teary arguments with his friends who refused to believe him, and it puts us, as parents, into quite a bind. Imagine sitting around with your friends when your son and their son come to you in tears, demanding resolution over something that you know -- and, deep down, probably, your son knows -- isn't true? It's a horrible situation to be in. Do I embarrass my son in front of his friends? Even worse, do I tell him to his face that I think he's a liar?

He's six. His imagination is everything. He's been reading on his own for almost two years. We don't have a TV, and unless he's at a friend's house, the limited screen time he does have is curated by us. We'll have a family movie night every week or two (Night at the Museum 2 was great!), and we'll watch a Phineas & Ferb and/or a Clone Wars episode once or twice a week, but that's really all. The rest of his time is spent reading, building Lego (not just Star Wars), and playing outside (well, watching Cubs games, too). The worlds he goes off to during all of these activities are shocking to me. I am awestruck at the elaborate plans, constructions, and games he comes up with.

But none of them get revisited nightly like the Star Wars fantasies. None seem to have the emotional resonance with him that being a Jedi Knight has. Frankly, I suppose I can't really blame him. Who wouldn't want to save the universe on a nightly basis while wielding a lightsaber and using near-supernatural powers?

But I worry for my young Jedi. He'll enter first grade in another few weeks, and while his friends were tolerant and excited about his fantasies last year in kindergarten, what will the new year bring? How long until my boy hears a chorus of "my dad says you're making that up"? How long until his teacher tells him the same? I know he will eventually discard this fantasy, but as a father my instinct is to protect him. I want him to do it on his own terms, not when the embarrassment becomes overwhelming. That just seems too ... grown up.

I read The Things They Carried in high school, and twenty years later Tim O'Brien's dissection of the relativity of truth and emotional resonance still sticks with me. If something makes you feel, if something connects with you emotionally, doesn't that make it real whether it's "true" or not? When you're six everything connect with you emotionally. Whether things are factually true or not is pretty irrelevant, even if they happen on Coruscant, or Tatooine, or Ryloth. Or in the backyard.

I'm posting this for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it's been on my mind a bunch and I thought it might amuse a few of you. Partly because I'm curious of the experiences those of you with older kids have had. And partly as a warning to those of you who are still a ways off from having kids. But regardless, I don't think you can plan parenting any more than you can plan growing up (which is probably for the best). Experience is a great teacher. Especially the experience of fighting the evil Sith across the galaxy.

#2 scorecardpaul

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:41 PM

sounds like a cool kid. always keep his life positive. The world usually crushes us all in time. Youth is to be enjoyed !! A positive self image is the strongest tool that you can ever expect to give your children. just curious, does he ever let you go with him??

#3 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:27 PM

I'm posting this for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it's been on my mind a bunch and I thought it might amuse a few of you. Partly because I'm curious of the experiences those of you with older kids have had.

TWC, it did all of these for me. I feel for you. I don't have anything much to add as my kids are about the same age (as you know). Imagination is a great thing. I know you use it every day with your job. You look at a blank or ugly landscape and turn it into something pleasing to the eye. His bountiful imagination, if not squashed by the world, will do him well as he ages. Will he get some bullies picking on him for it? Yes. He will also probably become witty enough from his imagination to protect, no that isn't the correct word, rebuke those that choose to try and squash something that they probably will never understand. All the advise I can give you is to let your little Jedi be a kid and don't let him grow up too fast. My 8 year old is already to the point where my silly jokes get an eye roll. They already grow up too fast. Let them be little (yes I stole that from a song).

"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#4 Brett

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:56 PM

I don't have anything to offer, TWC. I enjoyed that. It made me chuckle, and it tugged at me, too. It sounds like one of those things you hear from other parents and glibly reply, "that's just what happens with kids - it'll all shake out how it's supposed to." But, made real ... well, I just don't have a response. It's a slice of life, and I enjoyed you sharing it.

#5 FFP

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:54 PM

My nephew is six (this past weekend). His rich fantasy life is stunning and sometimes frightens me. I discovered that long walks (he calls it hiking) elicits confessions from him that would make many blush. Forgive me if I project a bit.

I worried, until I remembered that his mother, my baby (12 years younger) sister, has been such a (surprising!) Star Wars geek. Kelly is a sorority girl, three lengths of pearl, sweet 'average' girl. But Star Wars sends (and sent) her silly. WHY?

Joseph Campbell reminds us that archetypes are collective/shared truths. The stories are truth distilled. Star Wars actively tapped into centuries of human wisdom wrapped in the narratives of these archetypes. Star Wars hits a nerve.

Now two nerves are struck. Your boy's, because he recognizes the wisdom of the ages, good and evil, and action against evil. And yours--How can this innocent carry such heavy stuff?

He can, and eventually he really must.

Dude, trust the narrative. And, trust his genius. Trust that you are a good parent, and that he will sort things out.

He will. God bless him, he will sort them out in a way that you or I could never imagine.

That is how the universe moves forward.

(His classmates will just want the purple crayon. He'll handle that just fine, too.)

#6 PRcajun

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:19 PM

TWC, gotta say I really enjoyed reading this. I'll be honest, I was surprised at first as I usually follow your random threads during game day.

I have two girls, 6 and 2, thus I'm somewhat outnumbered at my house. And although my stories take a different turn from your kid's Star War adventures, the outcome is the same. I once spent an entire b-day party telling kids that, yes, I was aware that my oldest daughter was a mermaid princess and her mom and I were some sort of ocean-dwelling king and queen.

You should feel very proud to have a kid with such great imagination. Reading this assures all of us of how proud you are of your kid and as most of us with young ones read this it probably makes us be proud of our own kids. I know my two girls are not likely to be thinking of the empire striking back...more likely thinking about kissing frogs in the backyard...but just as long as they're letting the mind carry them, I couldn't ask for more.

On a separate note - Phineas and Ferb...dude, I feel you. I'm a big fan of Love Handle myself.

#7 Carew

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:25 PM

I'm waaaay to young for any of this, so I have no input, sorry. But this entire post is just awesome and more awesome

#8 Carew

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:33 PM

I say he should be a kid for as long as he can, even just bein a teenager I miss it

#9 TWC

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the kind words, everybody.

Spencer tweeted something the other day to the effect that the Message Board's gotten a bit stale. He's right, really, but I think it's due more to the dog days of summer and a crappy Cubs team than anything else. Since this topic had been on my mind (and my wife's mind) a lot recently, I needed to work it out a bit for myself. And while I do it all too infrequently these days, the best way for me to do that is to turn it into an essay of sorts. I'm glad I had you folks to share it with.

Cheers!



Oh, and:

I'm waaaay to young for any of this...

Well... I thought I had a few years still until I needed to do this, but here goes:

You see, Carew, when a man and a woman are in love and want to have a baby they ... .

#10 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:31 AM

You see, Carew, when a man and a woman are in love and is really hot want to have a baby the and you say you'll be carefull ... .

There. Fixed that for you.

"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#11 Katie

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:59 AM

TWC, I enjoyed this immensely. I have gone through something similar with my son who turns nine (dear Lord NINE!!) tomorrow and started the 3rd grade today. He is a talker and talker and talker. His favorite color is pink and he doesn't give a shit what anyone else thinks. His elaborate imagination is staggering and I know he's taken shit for it from his peers. He simply doesn't care. I hope he never loses that. He's got a wonderful mix of piss and vinegar and genuine compassion that makes me so proud. I'm honored to be his mom and I can't wait to see what he's going to say next.
Peg: Oh Al! Did you miss me?
Al: With every bullet, so far.

#12 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:05 AM

He's got a wonderful mix of piss and vinegar and genuine compassion that makes me so proud. I'm honored to be his mom and I can't wait to see what he's going to say next.

I see where he gets the piss and vinegar. Guess he has a good school teacher for the rest.

"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#13 Katie

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:09 AM


He's got a wonderful mix of piss and vinegar and genuine compassion that makes me so proud. I'm honored to be his mom and I can't wait to see what he's going to say next.

I see where he gets the piss and vinegar. Guess he has a good school teacher for the rest.


Yeah, I'm sure he gets it from me and I'm cool with it.
Peg: Oh Al! Did you miss me?
Al: With every bullet, so far.

#14 fromthemitten

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:39 PM

here's a blurry webcam shot of a photograph (SUPER SIMULACRUM) of me when I was five wearing Jedi robes my Mom made me:

Posted Image

I had an overactive imagination as a kid to the point of them putting me on ritalin, but I wound up turning out fine

tho I played a lot of dungeons and dragons in High School I hope you're okay with your kid being a potential DnD nerd

#15 TWC

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:53 PM

I hope you're okay with your kid being a potential DnD nerd

If my boy ends up being a D&D nerd in high school I'll be perfectly happy. As long as he ends up at 1st base for the Cubs.




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