Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a delight to watch. Beyond the spectacle, there was so much to be learned from this movie, especially for – surprise – parents. Here are Last Jedi lessons that every parent could use.
But before we get into it…
There’s spoilers from here on out. You have been warned!
1. Believe in your child and their potential, but rein them in when you have to. Make them learn the consequences of their actions.
Do as General Leia Organa does. In The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron stands in as the child she never had. She believes in him and his potential, but does everything in her power to rein him in when she has to. So she gives him freedom, but teaches him the consequences of his actions, when Poe indirectly causes the deaths of the Resistance bomber pilots. She punishes him, but also teaches him a thing or two about leadership.
2. Don’t decide for your children what they will become. Deciding that your kids are irredeemable even when they haven’t proven it yet means that you have failed them. Don’t give up on them.
Luke decided for Ben Solo what he would become. Then he sealed Ben’s fate when he turned his lightsaber on. Luke’s weakness put Ben on the path that he feared most, completing his transformation into Kylo Ren.
3. Communicate with your child. Do not undermine your children’s agency and push them to the sidelines. Understand them, instead of manipulating them for your own gain.
Snoke was like a failed parent to Kylo Ren. His lack of connection and empathy for his apprentice blinded him to Kylo Ren’s true intentions, causing his demise.
4. Comparing your child to others does not help them. Neither does forcing rules on them. Believe in their goodness.
In The Last Jedi, Luke teaches Rey that The Force is too big to belong exclusively to either the Jedi or the Sith. Luke explained to Rey, “To say, ‘If the Jedi die, the light dies,’ is vanity, don’t you see that?”
Anakin Skywalker was a poor boy from a poor planet, Rey was sold by her drunkard parents for booze money, and the Force-sensitive boy at the end of the movie was a slave. The power of the light can be wielded by anyone who is hopeful and does the good thing.
5. It’s okay to fail. Failure can set you up for success if you learn from it. You can fail and your children can fail, too. But don’t give up. To never stop, is crucial.
Many of the characters in The Last Jedi failed in their missions. Poe and Vice Admiral Holdo failed to protect the Resistance. Finn and Rose failed in their mission to stop the First Order. Rey failed to turn Kylo Ren to the Light Side. Even Luke Skywalker failed his nephew and everyone else.
But they did not give up hope. They did not stop, they learned from their failures and forged a new path.
Poe led the Resistance to safety. Holdo sacrificed herself to stop Snoke’s ship. Finn and Rose reunited with the Resistance to fight another day. Rey left the fight and saved her friends. And Luke Skywalker used every ounce of his power to stop the First Order and allow the remaining members of the Resistance to escape.
6. Teach your children how to be strong so they can weather the difficulties of life. Don’t just give them everything that will give them comfort.
Yoda appeared to Luke Skywalker as a Force Ghost and told him that Rey needs a teacher. He might have given up on re-establishing the Jedi Order, but he believed there would always be people like Rey who needs Luke’s guidance.
7. Don’t just teach your children about your successes, teach your children about your failings, too.
“The greatest teacher, failure is,” Yoda said.
8. Teach kids to be better than yourself. That’s your goal as a parent: to raise kids that will do better than you and your generation.
Yoda told Luke: “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”
9. Don’t rely too much on books on how to be a better parent. Application and failure are the best teachers.
“Time it is for you to look past a pile of old books,” Yoda says to Luke.
10. Rather than teach your children to hate everything that is wrong with the world, teach them compassion. Teach them the things that are worth saving, worth living for.
As Rose said to Finn, “Save the things you love, not destroy the things you hate.”
Images from Google, Lucasfilm, and Starwars.com