Star Wars: An allegory of fatherhood
Father of children (Episode I)
When your children are small you run around the galaxy like Qui-Gon Jinn with a mostly obedient Obi-Wan Kenobi tagging along. You call the shots and mold your trusty young padawan with the intention he’ll one day be just like you. Although everyone warns you that the next phase is fraught with peril and destined to end badly you press on full of optimism. Alas, all too quickly, it comes to an abrupt end as you take a light saber to the gut from a mysterious dark force (adolescence).
Father of teenagers (Episodes II & III)
All of a sudden you are a flustered and befuddled Obi-Wan strapped with a moody, angry, slightly whiny padawan who thinks he knows everything. You see the great potential that Anakin possesses but fear you are going to have to kill him before he reaches it. When Anakin isn’t busy not listening to you he is hanging out with shady figures who are bad influences. Inevitably it comes with conflict that ends with you, literally or figuratively, screaming at him through weary tear soaked eyes, “YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!” while he growls up at you wallowing in his resentment and remorse. [Disclaimer: this isn’t indicative of all teenagers just those that eat and breathe.]
Father of adults (Episode IV: A New Hope)
Your reward for those tumultuous Anakin years is a much more willing subject, Luke. You are older now and a little wiser and more patient. Your apprentice understands he doesn’t know everything and is eager to learn what you know although he is at times impatient, wanting to possess skills and knowledge it’s taking you a lifetime to acquire. Still you are grateful for a second chance and a more receptive vessel. While you want to instruct him in all things you will wisely decide that it’s best that he learn for himself. As scary and painful as it may be, when the time is right, you will choose to leave him alone.
Father of Adults part II (Episodes V & VI: Return of the Jedi)
Although he is grown and more experienced he will still seek for guidance. The years have given you additional knowledge that can benefit him but are too old to go chasing around the galaxy. If he wants your wisdom he’s going to have to come to Dagobah and put up with a heaping spoonful of your craziness and eat whatever crap you cook up. If he shows the slightest disinterest or lack of faith you can hit him with your cane and say bad things to him and he just has to take it because you are old. Do or do not, there is no try.
One day you’ll fade away and all you can do is hope you’ve prepared him well enough to deal with crazy old Anakin and the dark side better than you did.
Happy Fathers Day!