Raising Boys: What would Han Solo Say?
Last weekend, my two boys asked if I wanted to see the movie Star Wars. It was a lazy Saturday and a movie at home sounded great. But, the cinematic choice was questionable.
“Ah, I’m not sure,” I said, thinking about Queen Amidala’s powder-white face and shuddering.” Don’t really feel in the mood for that. And we probably wouldn’t all agree on the same one, anyway.” My oldest, who knows I love Star Wars looked at me funny. “Not the newer ones, Mom. Not the Jar-Jar Binks / Count Dooku ones but the Han Solo/ Luke Skywalker ones.”
“Hold up,” I said, stopping in my tracks, “You mean, like Episode 4? The true, old-school, original, holy grail of all movies?”
He smiled. “Yeah, of course. The best one of all.”
My firstborn had reeled me in. And worst of all? He knew it. What had I taught him? As a woman, mom, and wife, I clearly knew what I was doing in the manipulation category. Big time. So, how had he figured it out? And how was I totally agreeing to it?
“Sure, give me a second and I’ll join you.”
I grabbed my Chewbacca slippers, slid onto the sofa, and we began the best movie of all time. I realize Star Wars isn’t like The Ten Commandments, or Gone with the Wind. It isn’t even the same caliber as The Lord of the Rings. But, Star Wars was my life as a kid. I’ve probably seen it well over (huge emphasis on the well) a hundred times and this would be just one more amazing viewing. I settled deep into the sofa, sipped a coffee, and snuck random glances at my sons and their euphoric faces (perhaps a slight exaggeration) watch a movie that was nearly as old as me. It had been years since I’d watched it and this time, a few things caught my attention.
Sure, I noticed Luke whine about Tosche station to pick up power converters and observed Leia glower at General Tarkan. But I really noticed that Han Solo – the most sardonic, self-centered yet caring man (yes, deep down in his bounty hunter heart) –was the man. Like, THE MAN, man. I love Han Solo. And here’s why.
As with a lot of stories, you’ve got the main protagonist, with a couple or three awesome sidekicks. For example, you’ve got Luke, and t hen sidekicks Leia, and Han. In Harry Potter, you’ve got Harry, and Ron, and Hermione. With Twilight, you’ve got Bella, and Edward, and Jacob. And there’s The Lord of The Rings with Frodo, sidekick Sam and well … a couple of other hobbits.
The reason? We need comedic humor to break up the seriousness of it all. We need someone whom isn’t tackling saving the world, but helping someone tackling saving the world – with a huge dose of snark on the side. We need their charm and crazy antics. We need the Rons, the Sams and the Jacobs. (I’ll always need the Jacobs, but that is another story entirely).
Look, we need Han Solo because he is funny. I mean, we’ve got Luke. Luke represents the wistful, yearning child in all of us. Ready to get out and accomplish something! To get off the rock, stop dusting crops, and be somebody. We’ve got Leia. She’s a princess, headstrong, and beyond annoying. But, we’ve got to have someone who frustrates enough us to propel the story along. Frustration creates tension. Tension creates a conflict. And conflict creates a perfect story, as long as it’s resolved in the end. Which it is. Han actually begins to like Leia. And Han? Well, Han was like the man I was going to marry. I realize Han is on the bad boy side. Bad boys aren’t the types my parents wanted me to hang with. And Han is sarcastic … times a thousand.
But, that’s why I love him. Besides, Han really is a softie underneath his tough guy facade. I mean, one of his best pals is a walking carpet. (Total proof.) And he’s handsome. Handsome helps. So as I marveled at his attractive sneer, I realized that I liked Han. And I really liked what Han had to say. Like, every time. To the point that I wondered, what would happen if I chose to reason like Han? In essence, what would Han Solo say? And when it came to talking to my boys, would this work?
If I could use a little bit of his attitude when confronted with a tough situation, maybe I would laugh more. Life is far too serious as it is. I need to laugh more. If I randomly deferred to What Would Han Solo Say? (WWHSS) at times –use his tone, his wit, his charm –and roll it all into something that works to cope with life, then this was for me. I decided to try one out.
Me: Eat your broccoli, kid.
Kid: I don’t want to. Yuck.
Me: Then I guess you don’t want ice cream for dessert?
Kid: But I do!
Me: Well, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? (Han Solo line!)
Kid: (Broccoli- down the hatch)
It sounds harsh. But for boys, talking close to the level of a drill sergeant, without actually yelling, works wonders. Directness … with a touch of sarcasm. i.e. Han Solo.
Here’s another one: Boys are watching the TV. I walk into room.
Me: Just finished washing and drying clothes. I put them all on your beds, so please put them away.
Me: Well, don’t all thank me at once. (Boom! Another Han Solo line)
Kids: What? Oh. Okay. Thanks mom!
I got a thank you. My sarcasm worked. Barely. But it worked!
Using Han Solo-isms is like speaking my sons’ language. God knew with my love for Star Wars that I needed boys. And clearly, nothing in life goes to waste. Ever. Not even watching Star Wars a zillion times.
Next time you’re feeling a bit feisty, and your son(s) needs a retort that exceeds the level of a mild-mannered Obi-Wan Kenobi, think What would Han Solo say? Make sure to keep the loyalty and soft side of him in your words too, and you’ve really got something going for you.
Now, if we could just use the Force along with our Han Solo-isms, we’d be set.