Guest blog by Lydia Mondy
First, I want to preface this by saying I don’t necessarily think it’s a good thing when parents try to pattern their child’s interests after their own. Not only that, but attempts to do so frequently backfire (more common with sports or arts than forays into nerdy fandom, but still…).
With that disclaimer out of the way, almost forty years of precedence has been set: kids love Star Wars. And obviously adults do, too. (Possible more so.) Let’s look at a few nuggets for building healthy interest in the phenomenon we each call our own…
- A suitably silly controversy swirls around the exact order you should introduce the films to a young child. Unsurprisingly, most parents opt for the very same one they saw first: good ol’ Episode 4. More surprising is that many recommend leaving out Phantom Menace entirely. Try not to let nostalgia get in the way of a kid’s good time, huh?
- Call me old fashioned, but all I know is that when I finally screen the trilogy for my young daughter, she’ll be watching the original VHS editions. I, like many of you, find the special editions to be slightly…too special. Everybody knows who shot first in that cantina.
- The Dork Daddy blog asked nineteen different father-bloggers what they think the right age to introduce Star Wars to your kids is. Answers ranged from “in the womb” to “never” (blasphemy), but the popular consensus was around 5-6 years old. I don’t remember what age I took in my first viewing, but I definitely remember that I’d rather ‘play Star Wars’ than ‘play house’ in kindergarten.
- Naturally, if your kiddo is clamoring for a piece of weaponry, you probably prefer it be the fictional lightsaber instead of y’know, a plastic AK-47.
- Clearly I’m not the target demographic, so it won’t come as any surprise that I just don’t understand cartoons these days. How they get from concept to consumption baffles me: “So, there’s Gary the High-Heeled Shoe and his buddy Harry the Peanut Butter Sandwich and they hate gravity but like to sell jewelry in parking lots and…” What?! Who comes up with this stuff? Comparatively, the plot of Star Wars is pretty straightforward. Differentiating good vs. evil is a basic tenet of humanity, whether we agree with it or not.
- Prepare for some interesting questions from children of the digital age. Even so, kids aren’t going to scrutinize the all-analog special effects of the original trilogy in a way that an adult who has never seen Star Wars in 2014 might (they do exist).
- A six-year-old quoting Han Solo is the most popular kid in the room. With the adults, that is. Kids his own age are probably pretty busy playing with their iPhone7’s, but your enlightened child is discussing the finer points of both the Rebellion and the Empire. Good work!
Lydia Mondy is a blogger, mother and lover of anything from a galaxy far, far away…