I have been a self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd for most of my life. My love affair with the famous sci-fi franchise started in the third grade. When my best friend found out I’d never seen any of the movies, she took my Star Wars education into her own hands–or, rather, into her parents’ basement. I still remember sitting with her on a couple of those foldout flip chairs that were all the rage in the ’90s, sharing a bowl of popcorn as my virgin eyes drank in the magic of a galaxy far, far away.
After the first five minutes of watching, I was hooked. At the end of the first movie, I was obsessed. By the time we’d completed the entire original trilogy, I was jumping back and forth between the cushions of our chairs, using a pool stick as a makeshift lightsaber to practice my Jedi fighting skills.
My passion for Star Wars grew right along with my prepubescent body, and I was lucky enough to find (and marry) a man who shared it. In fact, when we were introduced for the first time as husband and wife at our wedding reception, we lightsaber-battled our way to the head table as “The Imperial March” blared in the background.
Now, six years after my epic wedding, my husband and I are raising twin boys (no, we did not give them alliterative “L” names), and I can’t help but hope they grow to love Star Wars as much as I do. And while I obviously want them to appreciate the entertainment value of the films, I also think there are some important lessons they can learn by watching them.
So, to my dear sons, here are 10 life lessons that I hope you take away from Star Wars:
1. Don’t kiss a girl until you have a solid understanding of who she is as a person. Even though I am 100 percent sure you don’t have a Rebel sister with honey-bun hair running around out there, I still don’t think Luke and Leia’s near-incestuous mistake should be taken lightly. Get to know a girl before you make out with her. It’s just the classy way of doing things.
2. On that note, it might be a good idea to know who a girl’s dad is before you make a move. Unless you have the desire to be Force-choked.
3. Size matters not, especially compared to wisdom. Your dad and I both went through an awkward, gangly stage in our preteen years, but that didn’t stop us from excelling both athletically and academically. Don’t let anyone put limitations on what you can do based on what it looks like you can do.
Likewise, don’t judge others by their physical appearances. The first time I saw Yoda fight Dooku in Attack of the Clones, I was blown away. He might walk with a cane, but that little wrinkly dude’s got mad skills, yo. (Don’t roll your eyes—I’m up with modern lingo. ROTFL.)
4. Keep your rooms clean. Your life depends on it. Remember that near-fatal trash compactor scene in A New Hope? Garbage is gross, and too much of it can kill you.
5. A little tasteful facial hair can be attractive, but don’t go overboard. I don’t recall ever seeing a Mrs. Chewbacca.
6. Don’t try to be the cool guy. When Leia confesses her love to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back, Han replies, “I know,” and they live happily ever after (eventually).
Listen up, boys: This is a big part of the “fiction” in “science fiction.” Sorry, but playing cool like that doesn’t tend to work in real life. If a girl tells you she loves you, she probably expects to hear it back. Besides, Han was so cool, he ended up frozen in carbonite. Is that what you want?
8. Parents make mistakes just like everyone else. Forgive them. Darth Vader abandons his kids, runs around the galaxy blowing shit up and chops his son’s hand off. Luke still forgives him at the end of Return of the Jedi. So if Mom forgets to wash your favorite pair of basketball shorts the night before you want to wear them, cut her some slack, okay?
8. Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Sure, the Jedi have spiffy lightsabers, but they use the Force—guided by the power of their minds—to wield them effectively.
9. Be confident, but not cocky. In the first Star Wars movie, Luke blows up a TIE fighter, and Han (a bit ironically) tells him, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”
Believe in yourself, but don’t let a few successes turn you into an arrogant jerk. Maybe if Luke had been a little more humble early on, he wouldn’t have gotten his hand hacked off.
10. Struggles and defeats really can make you stronger. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan says, “You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” And he does, as a ghostly spirit-thing. You can’t kill a spirit.
It might not seem like it in the moments immediately after you’ve fallen—after you’ve lost a game, failed a test, or made a mistake in any capacity—but when you pick yourself back up, it makes you more resilient.
Star Wars is basically the greatest movie saga ever created. And the fact that your mom loves it so much does not make her a total loser.
(Shut up, no it doesn’t.)
And of course, may the Force be with you. Always.