We love Star Wars in our house.
The grown ups have always loved it. Since The Dude and I met, we've often spent an afternoon watching either A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back, depending on who got to choose. When I was a child I used to watch it in the early mornings when I woke and had the run of the downstairs to entertain myself til everyone was up. Since then I'd say I've probably watched it at least an average of once every other month of my life. It never bores me. I still praise my favourite ever scene of every movie ever made each time it's on ( the scene with Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and the Death Star dude whose lack of faith Darth Vader finds disturbing!).
As you can imagine we have a fair bit of Star Wars merch kicking around the house. Newt had often mentioned watching it but accepted she was too young, happy enough to wait. Then the Dudes parents cleared out their loft. Suddenly box loads of figures and replica space craft from a 70's childhood arrived. That was it. Newt was hooked. We agreed in the end to watching it together with her understanding some of the bits we may have to skip through.
When we all sat down for that landmark first viewing the Mancub was asleep. But as soon as that opening music began he woke up, his eyes glued to the screen, and that was it - he was rooted to the spot. Barely blinking, rarely moving. He loved it. The space ships, the robots all of it.
That was three months ago.
I have to admit, even as a hardened fan this is not what I had in mind for my near three year old boy. Though we don't regulate or put pressure on our children's screen time I had not planned on them regularly watching Star Wars at this age, if at all really. Lets just say its not very Steiner.
But the Unschooling souls in us has found a way to help it enrich our life together. For one we all share it. Unlike some dreadful Disney that we can't bear to watch we all enjoy watching this together, even now on its hundredth millionth viewing.
I quite like the role model of Princess Leia over The Disney Princesses. Yes she is rescued but she also leads the rebel alliance and is generally pretty god damn cool (though we don't talk about the Return of the Jedi Leia much...a little less tough and a bit more needy as each film goes on!).
One afternoon last month Newt disappeared upstairs on her own for half an hour and when she came back she had copied out her favourite characters into her art book. All by herself. Using her lovely Stockmar beeswax crayons of course.
(Here's R2-D2 and Darth Maul)
For the Mancub it's the ships. He loves them. His interest in planes and rockets has been boosted beyond what we ever thought possible for an under three. Everything flies. His first words muttered under his breath whilst his eyes are still closed but his mind awake are 3,2,1 boom. This is no cartoon or fake image of space ships. They are to him real space fighters, zooming around asteroids and moons (no wait, 'that's no moon'!).
This is Darth Vader (well a Tapir dressed up as Darth Vader) - Newt's favourite character
We've also found it has served as an amazing way to introduce so many concepts and information about the world. Desert, space, swamps, tundra. Personalities, agendas and attitudes. It's a surprise how much of life's teachings can be brought into your home through a set of classic old movies. The Jedi lessons are as valid to children (and grown ups) as they are to young Luke.
So to end my ramble about making the most of every opportunity and sharing passions here's a classic Yoda quote.