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Tag: parenting

Grogu’s Choice

When Baby Yoda shows up in the middle of “The Book of Boba Fett,” you know the writers have a few more tricks up their sleeves.

“The Book of Boba Fett” has become really interesting. That’s because it’s suddenly drawing heavily on a growing number of beloved characters from a galaxy far, far away.

First, Mando’s back in Chapter 5. And if you’re not paying close attention, you would think that you’re inexplicably watching season 3 of “The Mandalorian.” (Talk about crossover storylines.)

It’s been a real treat to see Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal) back in action. The producers don’t stop there. They give us a healthy dose of Grogu-ness too.

But the “Boba Fett” folks aren’t done yet. Oh no.

The Return of Luke Skywalker
Remember the big reveal at the end of “The Mandalorian” season 2? (spoiler alert)

A young Luke Skywalker shows up to save the day. Sure, his face is computer-generated. But he looks okay for a CGI human. Plus we’ve got the voice of the real Mark Hamill.

Many have debated whether digital-Luke was real enough, but that’s not really important if you’re focusing on the big picture.

It was an amazing reveal, and it was perfect for the story. Thank you, Jon Favreau.

But clearly, the writers weren’t done with CGI Luke. They wanted another shot and gathered all of the computer-rendering power this side of the solar system.

And with that force, they now gave us a full episode of “The Mandalorian” (I mean “The Book of Boba Fett”) largely led by young Luke Skywalker!

And it worked! How crazy is that??

The Luke scenes in Chapter 6 were amazingly real. In some of the action sequences, it felt like the Lucasfilm animators were really having fun with their achievement.

Our New Padawan
We also see Luke training Grogu. What a pair! I love that the episode takes its time with this. (That’s an advantage a series can offer.)

And then the big cliffhanger comes….
(Yes, spoiler alert)

Luke gives Grogu the choice of accepting one of two gifts… Yoda’s light saber or the little beskar-armored shirt the Madalorian dropped off. Of course Grogu’s choice will define his destiny.

Cut to black… roll credits.

Wow.

Much Strength this Series Reveals
The first few episodes of “The Book of Boba Fett” are slower by comparison. I think it’s partially because of so much time spent on the back story (which is arguably needed).

And Boba Fett’s character (played by Temuera Morrison) still feels a bit two dimensional. (It doesn’t help that he’s barely been in the past couple episodes.) But we’ll see how he evolves as his story pushes forward.

“The Book of Boba Fett” is getting stronger as it benefits from a growing and integrated Star Wars’ universe that draws from the best of the original core as well as crossover characters from “The Mandalorian.”

Beyond Mando, we’ve had the pleasure of reuniting with Jedi Ahsoka, sheriff Cobb Vanth, the Mandalorian Armorer and mechanic Peli Motto.

Streaming Joy
Sure, we can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of “The Book of Boba Fett.” That said, I am not disappointed. Not one bit.

As a life-long “Star Wars” fan who remembers being blown away when I saw Episode IV in in the movie theater and also as a father of an eleven-year-old son who enjoys “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” as much as I do, I am psyched that “Star Wars” is alive and well on Disney+.

Watching these episodes with my family has been a peak experience.

More please.

The Indestructible Dining Room Table

Living with this old dining room table has taught me how to be a better parent. Here’s the story.

When I was growing up, my father constantly hounded me not to jump on the living room couch and to stop spilling my milk on the dining room table.

No, my parents didn’t cover everything with plastic, but our New York City apartment wasn’t really designed to accommodate the usual physical energies of a growing boy. Still, I made it through without causing too much damage.

Now, I’ve got my own son. He’s almost eleven, and I find myself on opposite side of the same equation. Like father, like son?

A Fateful Meeting
Many years ago when I lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, I picked up an old and somewhat beat-up dining room table from the curb. It was abandoned there, the table top and legs, just up the street from where I lived, near the Capitol Theatre.

I carried it home, put it together and then took a closer look at what I had dragged in. It wasn’t really in that bad shape, and the craftmanship was solid. It must have been built in the 1940s and lived in someone’s home across a generation or more.

Then, circumstances clearly changed, and it was cast out, waiting for the garbage truck.

But I saved this table and integrated it into my own life. And it’s stayed with me across my journey and into parenthood.

Reflections of Family Life
It’s lasted far beyond my expectations. I figured it would eventually get replaced with a nicer table, but then a funny thing happened to it during our early parenting years.

To borrow a phrase… it took a licking and kept on ticking.

No matter what kind of abuse it took, it had this seemingly magical quality to bounce right back.

  • Pen and crayon marks? No problem.
  • Fork gouge. Not that noticeable.
  • Water spill? The stain somehow evaporated.

Actually, there were so many little marks, the scars simply began to blend together into a dull, well-worn, distressed look. I’m sure the table sported a uniform shine in the previous century, but now, it simply absorbs the daily life of our growing boy with its own muted elegance.

Learning from your Mistakes
I woke up on Saturday morning and began setting the dining room table for breakfast. Sitting in the middle of the table was a science experiment and magic trick of sorts from the previous evening. Our son had created the illusion of dry bits of paper floating inside a Ziploc bag of water. It was a clever design that, of course, used two Ziploc bags.

My wife and I enjoyed our son’s after-dinner illusion, but unfortunately, we all forgot to make sure it was cleaned up and put away.

Sometime overnight, the bag with the water sprung a leak.

So when I walked over to the table in the morning, there was a huge water stain that spanned the entire length of the dining room table.

In many situations, this would be a game-over moment for a piece of wooden furniture. And for me, it should have prompted a response of significant stress.

But it didn’t.

After observing the pool of water, I walked over to the kitchen to retrieve some paper towels, and then I mopped up the mess. I took another look at the massive wet stain, which I knew would mostly disappear when it dried. I shrugged and went about my breakfast prep.

That’s it.

Yes, I later pointed out the water illusion’s structural failure to my son, and I did suggest that he shouldn’t leave aqua experiments lying about.

But compared to other corrective conversations, it was very Zen.

The Real Value of a Dining Room Table
Parenting is a messy business. Growing up is a messy business. Good messy.

I’ve realized it’s just fine for your dining room table to reflect that.

  • A table for science experiments
  • A table for art projects
  • A table for family Zoom chats
  • And yes, sometimes a table to eat on

I expect that some folks might be horrified with my position on dining room table protection, but I’m so happy letting this table be the surface for so many of our family’s home adventures.

And now, it’s clearly become my own little experiment.

I think one day… a few years down the line, we’ll get the table refinished. It’s certainly earned it!

Life Lessons
Yes, my indestructible dining room table has been an invaluable tool across these years. It’s ongoing presence has also taught me not to worry so much about the little nicks and dings… and water stains.

That’s life.

This lesson has helped me to avoid some of the parenting styles I grew up with. And I’m really thankful for that.

I don’t know who left this magic table for me all those years ago. But whoever you are, thank you!

One Father’s Journey to Introduce “Star Wars” to his Son

If you’re a parent trying to figure out when’s the right time to expose your kids to the Dark Side of the Force, here’s my story as a parent and a “Star Wars” fan…

I’ve been waiting for this moment since the day my son was born. And please grant me this nerdy pleasure… My boy and I watched “Star Wars” together this past weekend in our family room.

He’s nine years old, and I know that many younger kids have watched all of the movies already, including the newer ones. And it’s not like I haven’t tried a couple of times before. In fact, I did technically screen some of “A New Hope” with him two years back. But he didn’t really like it.

Thank you, Harry Potter
He simply wasn’t ready. I think it’s because of the plot’s suspense and the Dolby-infused mayhem of blasters and light sabers. But mostly, it was the suspense. At the time, he was still enjoying Lego movies and “Ice Age” flicks.

But then, he caught the Harry Potter reading bug, and he tore through all of the books. And when he found out there were movies, of course he wanted to watch them. To date, we’ve gotten through the first five. And as much as there was plenty of intensity and suspense in those flicks, he already knew the stories. So, I think it was a wonderful way to comfortably ease him into consuming more serious storytelling. And I hoped it would be a bridge…

If at First You Don’t Succeed…
We sometimes have ‘family movie night’ at home, and I’ve recently begun suggesting “Star Wars” again, but he still wasn’t interested.

Then, last Saturday, it was my turn to choose a movie. (We rotate between the three of us.) Without any big set up, my son and I sat down on the couch. Usually, he wants to know what we’re going to watch, but not this time…

I powered up our Apple TV and scrolled down to the “Star Wars” thumbnail grouping.
(I’ve previously purchase the first six movies.)

He saw what I was doing, and he didn’t object. I kept going…

I hovered over “The Empire Strikes Back,” since we technically had already seen “A New Hope.” But my boy helpfully suggested that we play “A New Hope” since he barely remembered it.
(Whoa! Was this actually happening?)

What’s the Right Order?
Before I could tap ‘play,’ he noticed “A New Hope” wasn’t listed first, and then we got into the discussion of order…

I explained the whole two/one/three trilogy thing, and I could tell he was trying to understand why anyone would make a series of movies out of order. After thinking about it a bit more, he asked if we could simply start at the beginning with Episode 1.

I looked at him, and knew I that needed to make the call. I explained that I wanted him to watch the movies in the order that I had watched them as I was growing up. He took another beat and happily said, “Okay.”

We were on!
Cue the John Williams soundtrack…

The Question of Luke’s Father
What can I say… It was glorious. The two of us were finally watching and enjoying “Star Wars” together.
(My wife took a rain check on this particular screening.)

He really liked “A New Hope.” When it was over, he proclaimed that R2-D2 was his favorite character, because he was such a “cool robot.” (He had laughed at all of the little droid’s antics.) Then he quickly chose Obi-Wan Kenobi as his second favorite character. (It’s hard to ignore the amazing Alec Guinness.)

Then my boy said, “I bet Luke’s father is in the first three movies.”
He waited for my response.

Wow. I and many others had a lukewarm response to Episodes 1-3. But this pop-up focus group of one fourth grader immediately identified the strong desire to know the back story.

I smiled at my son.
“Is Luke’s father in the first three movies?
Yes, I think it’s a good bet that he is…”
(Cue the famous breathing sound effect.)

Parenting 101
It’s a long journey to “The Rise of Skywalker,” and as much as I’d like to take my boy to watch it on the big screen, he likely won’t be through the other movies yet. Plus, there’s a reason why this new trilogy is rated PG-13. The films are intense.

My wife has sometimes had to remind me that as a parent, I should observe the cues from our son to better understand when he’s ready to experience something new.

What’s the right age to start watching “Star Wars?”
Of course there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. As a parent, you’re supposed to make that call.

Should I have been pushing “Star Wars” for the past two years? Probably not. As a father, I’m admittedly sometimes still just a Padawan.
(At some level, aren’t we all students in the art of parenting?)

But now that he’s ready for a galaxy far, far away… I can’t hide my own
child-like glee.

The Force is with him.

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