On Monday, I posted Fatherly Advice, Part 1 where I talked about the difficulties of celebrating Father’s Day and briefly about my own relationship with my father. I had mentioned two lessons that he taught me – the value of discipline and organization, and his resiliency as he changed careers more than once at a later stage in life.
Even as we think about the positive things that our fathers taught us, I cannot help but think about the negative things that our fathers taught us. Instead of being a positive example, they served as negative examples – what not to do. How many times have we heard our mothers say: “You are just like your father!!” Translation: don’t pick up your father’s unsavory habits.
I cannot help but look at the Star Wars universe for all the negative examples. Don’t get me wrong. I truly like the Star Wars universe (except maybe the sequel trilogies). I have all their movies and watch them all the time. A close second is analyzing the Star Wars universe – not over plot holes and technology and instead paying close attention to the relationships between the characters, male or female. One of the most dominant features in the Star Wars universe is the father-son relationship.
Even in the 2020s, despite all the insidious politically correctness, yes, father-son.
Spoiler alerts ahead!
The character Anakin Skywalker, according to lore, did not have a biological father. Anakin did have several good and one bad role models. Perhaps the first father figure was Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) but sadly he was taken away. The master was cut down in combat, leaving Anakin to be “raised by” Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness / Ewan McGregor). Although Kenobi served as Anakin’s teacher in the ways of the Jedi, there are times when Kenobi was more like a big brother than father. That left Palpatine – the evil Emperor – who on the face looked like a wise old man but in fact the personification of evil.
What people often forget in real life that younger men are desperate for other men to pattern themselves. If they don’t have a biological father, they will look outside the home. They are looking for someone who knows how to “do life” – everything from career to family to church and everything in between. Some men are blessed to find a good mentor. Sadly, some find corrupters – gangs, ruthless corporate climbers, and one Supreme Chancellor of the Old Republic.
I am saddened when I realize that younger generations fundamentally lack the wisdom to choose a good role model. They simply lack the life experiences and the discernment. They lack the ability to tell when an older person is genuinely interested or will ultimately abuse them.
It should be no surprise that Anakin’s chosen Sith name was Darth Vader. Vader is very similar to the English word father and IS the Dutch word for father. At the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin has become a father. He has already fallen to the dark side and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda must hide them unlike they become of age.
If Anakin fell to the dark side, what about his son Luke Skywalker? You will have to watch the movies Star Wars Episode IV, V, and VI to find out.
To sum up, little boys and girls watch their fathers and other father-figures on how to act as adults. We all want to be a good role model to our children. No one has ever grown up and thought: “Today, I am going to ruin my children.” Since we are flawed humans, we sometimes end up as negative examples.
I hope you understand the power that a father can play for good and worse.
Coda: The Star Wars franchise has been very illustrative in this. Using movies “to preach” is much more palatable, but I always run the risk of spoilers.