Galactic Civil War: a metaphor for parenting

As I walked to work this morning I listened to Adam Buxton and Rob Delaney talk about parenting. My mind started to wander off on a tangent and I started to relate parenting to the battle between the Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic

Now I haven’t developed a completely solid metaphor here, I got to work before I had time to fully work it out but just bear with me, hopefully it’ll start to make sense as I write it down.

A couple of things first:

  • If someone else has already done this, I’m sorry, I’m not copying you, these are my own thoughts, isn’t it great we both thought of the same thing
  • Unless I’m very much mistaken, I don’t think an Imperial Star Destroyer ever gets destroyed throughout the original Star Wars trilogy? I’m not counting the Executor, that was something else.
  • This is all relating to Episodes IV, V and VI. Just limit your mind to those 3 films, no Expanded Universe, prequel or sequel trilogies.

Right then, let’s get started. First of all, my wife is clearly the Death Star. She wasn’t happy when I told her this but I assured her my justification here would put her at ease. She simply said “I don’t kill planets!”

That’s not the point I’m making though.

The Death Star wasn’t just a symbol of ultimate power, it was the most powerful thing in the Star Wars universe – short of an actual exploding star. Now taking our home as the universe, the Death Star moves around being the absolute authority on all things.

My wife isn’t an enormous evil planet destroying space station, but from a child’s point of view when they want a second packet of chocolate buttons, one more episode of Fireman Sam or to just stay up for 5 more minutes then a parent becomes an oppressive, inhibitive and unkind force that is stopping them from simply enjoying the world around them and living their life as they please. Sure, we’re not being mean saying “no”, we’re really trying to teach them limits… but they don’t get that. They just see it as mean.

So having that extra treat is the planet, which gets destroyed by the Death Star because they are in charge and more powerful. Also, to be fair, I am quite often also the Death Star.

Generally though, I think of myself as number 2 when it comes to parenting. Not that I’m a bad parent at all, I think I’m doing a good job, but I think of myself more like a fleet of Star Destroyers. I do the bidding of the Empire, and while I maintain a presence throughout the universe I am not to be respected in the same way the Death Star is. This is apparent in UK and most other laws… the Mum is in charge (generally).

I know my kids love me, this is all fine, but when stuff gets hard it does feel like a battle. During these times, my children effectively become Rebel Alliance fighters.

X-Wings, A-Wings, Y-Wings and my 6 year old is sometimes the Millennium Falcon as well (like when we have to get somewhere quickly, despite her generally not sitting still and zipping around as quickly as possible… her hyper drive totally fails when we NEED to get moving)

They are small, fast and nimble. They pack an arsenal of devastating weapons (puke, poop, finger nails, felt pens, vocal chords, saliva etc) that can wreak havoc on the systems that the Empire has set up in the universe (the shoe rack, TV, Bookshelves, carpets, walls).

1 on 1, no small fighter is a match for the range and power of a Star Destroyer or the tactical knowledge of the crew, let alone that of the Death Star.

Any damage that is caused is quickly repaired with the enormous resources available after the Fighter has been disabled (e.g. you watch The Octonauts and eat this Babybell, I’ll get the baby wipes and clean the pen off the wall)

Han Solo evaded a Star Destroyer by hiding inside a cave or docking to the back of the bridge… not that I’m saying I’ve ever lost sight of my kids or they’ve played a considerably more effective round of hide and seek than I was expecting – but 1 on 1 can be tricky, the bigger and smarter they get. Generally though, the Star Destroyer is winning at this point.

Problems start to arise when they work together, when there is more than 1 of them.

Multiple fighters managed to destroy both Death Stars… they got right to the core of the second one, avoiding all defences and causing a catastrophic explosion.

My children have never destroyed my wife in an enormous explosion and again this is probably a place where I should be classed as the Death Star as well – it’s really about losing your cool as a parent.

When my kids do something to really piss me off I get angry and I tell them off or shout at them. It usually takes a few incidents in quick succession from multiple angles – think of them as all the X-Wings and Y-Wings on their bombing run up the trench.

Most of the attacks are absorbed by the thick armor (a heavy sigh), turbo lasers destroy the X-wing in flight (stopping a pen-loaded hand before it hits a wall) or supporting Imperial Spacecraft disable the fighters (having another parent to hand)

Then one of them punches through, gets passed the turbo lasers, uses the force, couple of missiles down the exhaust port and boom.

Again, my kids don’t manage to launch a projectile into an opening on my body (well, not often) but one of their many chaotic acts will end up being the final straw, I’ll be unreasonably cross with them, I’ll ban TV for 6 months, no treats for 7 years, no toys on a Tuesday and sensible shoes must be worn if the month has an M in it.

I get ridiculous, I make up silly rules that no one (including myself) is ever going to stick to. I don’t lose it physically, I don’t become an actual Sith bastard. I just end up being completely ineffective, like an enormous space station that’s just blown up, I’m a useless wreck. Leaving the Star Destroyers to carry on without the support of the Death Star and chase the little Rebels on their own.

So to summarise, most of the time my wife is the Death Star and I am a Star Destroyer.

When we’ve had a particularly awkward day out, the kids wont bath nicely and dinner is on the wrong plates so they refuse to eat it… well that’s the Battle of Yavin, one of us is the Death Star and just gets written off.

The Kids are always Rebel Alliance fighters. They are the coolest, the best, always the good guys and even if they do something “wrong” they’re still doing the right thing overall.

Worst case scenario… Battle of Endor. The parents are the Death Star II and the Super Star Destroyer Executor.

Both get destroyed, they crash into each other, all the explosions, Empire loses, Rebels win.

To reiterate neither myself or my wife are evil Sith lords and we have never and will never use force lightning or lightsabers against our children.

But children lack perspective on the world as a whole, so not having pudding, from their point of view, is evil, wrong and an oppressive action that will be fought.

At the time they tend to lose the battle, but through pouting, constant whinging or just saying something hilarious they will get their way.

In the end, the good guys always win.



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