A Jedi guide to Parenting

Episode Two — Fear

I am not afraid.
Luke Skywalker
You will be. You. Will. Be.

Hanging on our refrigerator was an artsy calendar that said “I am not afraid, I was born for this.” However, every time I read it, Yoda’s voice kept creeping into my mind with his voice narrating those famous lines.

Fear is a powerful thing. It’s a motivator.

It’s a reflex.

It’s an answer to problems.

It is, despite what the Jedi Code teaches, something not easily dismissed.

When you are a young man/woman, especially in those young teenage or twenty something years (generalizing), you fear nothing. You are invincible. You can do nothing so wrong that your future is anything but bright.

However, that all changes when you become a parent. In the Star Wars universe no character suffers more from the powerful motivator of fear than Anakin Skywalker. And can you blame him? Born a slave, made to choose between his own freedom and his mother, and hiding a love in the shadows, Anakin shows parents how fear can make you lose everything.

Fear can make you choose poorly. But can it also motivate you to do good? Or at least as it relates to your family and kids?

Is fear or love motivating us to work longer hours? To save for our children’s college expenses? To give them a better chance to have a good life than we have? To invest in our community and neighbors, instead of only our own home?

In reality it’s a mix of both. While we love our kids, fear of having our children suffer (oddly enough fear to anger to suffering as Yoda explains) leads to many decisions we will regret or celebrate. The Jedi Code is correct in warning how fear leads to anger, and so forth. Human history has shown that very few good decisions have been made out of anger. But what about fear? I believe that because most Jedi were not parents (or really bad ones: begin any Rey theories!) it has been overlooked how fear should not be dismissed as a path to the dark side so quickly.

It is only when we understand that fear is part of the natural world of parenting, can we use that emotion / reaction / tool into a conductor for taking actions out of love. When we understanding that all parents, young and old, fear the same thing, then can we truly know a lesson from the Jedi.

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