Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Jedi Carry No Spare Change

On occasion, teaching my own children gives me delightful glimpses of their thoughts and character. One of our favorite parts of learning together is having the time for real conversation. So here's a fun one from last week.

We were engrosed in a fairly deep, or so I thought, conversation about freeing oneself from the past to make one's own future. Since we are also total nerds, the philosophical merged naturally with the geekly and landed in discussion of Anakin Skywalker's decent from Jedi Knight to the Sith Lord. Yes, we really did have a very deep discussion of past and future running alongside our opinions of how Anikin Skywalker's life went so terribly wrong.

My son, sometime into the discussion, became quite solemn. He listened carefully to Morgan's insights and even looked up a few facts in one of our many "Guides to Star Wars." Suddenly he held up his hand to silence all further conversation. He sat-up straight, and told us both, very seriously, "I know exactly why Anikin turned into Darth Vader."

"Why?" we asked. I waited eagerly to hear what he had to say. He looked into my eyes and, with a gesture of his hand looking very much like Obi Wan, he said, "A Jedi carries no spare change." Morgan and I nodded along, quite impressed. Yes, a Jedi must free him/herself from worldly concerns, from the past, from personal attachments. We were very excited at the metaphor of "spare change" and thought it well represented all of the entanglements which destroyed the young man. We talked of the man's fears and how these were used against him and how we too have the experience of being limited by fear. At the end I was delighted, feeling very satisfied with the youngest child's progress. I found his ability to appropriate images from a modern repackaging of the heroic tragedy and use them meaningfully was quite impressive.

Then I shared the wonderful story with my spouse. He stopped me saying, "I've heard his idea about Anakin before. " I prattled on awhile more and he said, "Yes, yes, I know he's concerned that the Jedi didn't have any extra emergency money."

"What??? He didn't mean that the Jedi needed more money. He was speaking metaphorically. The "change" was a representation of how our past can drag us down. You just don't understand, husband. My boy's a genius; nerdly as we all are, but a genius." (I glared some at that point and gave him the teacher stink-eye."

"Ask him," was his arrogant reply. I did.

The boy's not a philosopher blending modern and ancient mythology into a metaphor for our own lives. The boy's a capitalist. He really did mean the Jedi should go about with more money. In that way, Anakin could have bought his mother out of slavery. She wouldn't have died. He wouldn't have descended into that whole "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side" thing because he could have bought himself out of the problem. My son. Not a good Scots for nothing.

Happy Father's Day weekend. There will be large amounts of beef in our celebration, but otherwise I'm not sure. I'm up to the full, horrible, deadly dose of methltrexate now and will likely be in the fetal position on the bathroom floor for about 48 hours, but I did find a cool gift. Hopefully wondrous combination of cool gifts and food will compensate for my lack of visible signs of life.

Gratuitous Sting Trivia: This time two weeks from now, we will be seeing The Police in concert for the second time that week. Morgan and I are totally obsessed. My new favorite Police number is Next to You from Outlandos d'Amore. I wouldn't have tolerated this song in my teens, but Morgan has had her way with me and I'm more and more open to the loud boy rock star stuff.


Star said...

I laughed outloud! What a riot.

It is fantastic that you have such incredible discussions as part of their education; what a gift for them.

PJ said...

Love the depth and flow of your you did with your kids. We had a lot of cow, too tonight...something like each of us having T-bones! it was great!

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