page contents

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cole's Dark Side?

Why is it that my son Cole, who is a good boy, follows rules, treats people with respect, and who cried when Charlotte the Spider died, is completely obsessed with Anakin Skywalker? Not the Anakin before he turns to the Dark Side – the one who pledges himself to Darth Sidious and ultimately becomes Darth Vader.

Cole’s favorite past-time is light-saber fighting, as is many boys his age. His favorite scene? For you Star Wars fans, it’s lava scene fight between Obi and Anakin. (You know, right after Anakin almost kills his expecting wife.) Anakin’s (aka Cole) most revered line is, “If you are not with me, you are my enemy!”

His obsession with the Dark Side would bother me if my son was a bully, or even had a tendency for wrongdoing. I’m always relieved when he feels remorse for accidentally maiming someone with a light saber.

I think Cole’s intrigue stems from the fact that evil exists in the world, and by "playing out" the Dark Side, he is affirming his own existence of "bad feelings" including fear, anger and hate. Everyone experiences these feelings at one time or another, even if hate breeds from external forces of unthinkable crimes. While on the surface, we understand hate boils down to an unhealthy level of egoism and power, and we all internally struggle to find the essential balance of egoism and selflessness. Even when we're six years old. Or, perhaps especially when we're six years old.

Am I bothered by my own offspring's obsession with the Dark Side? No. Of course, I realize he knows Darth Vader, the symbol of evil, eventually brings balance to the force by overthrowing his master in Return of the Jedi.. And when goodness is restored in the World, my son is reassuring himself he is also good. The Star Wars metaphor is a common theme, but is brilliant because it works at so many levels of the human spirit and circumstance.

Okay, so maybe we take Star Wars a little too seriously in our household. But I will close these thoughts with the words we often use while tucking our young Jedi into bed at night, May the Force be with you.

No comments: