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Luke Skywalker has something to learn from parents
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This 1980 publicity image shows Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and the character Yoda in this scene from "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." - photo by Peter Thunell
Much like every other sentient mammal on Earth, I recently went to see the new Star Wars movie. It was fun, like seeing a great cover band in action, like Mink Floyd (they dress up fancy and play Money) or Flabba (plus-sized men in spandex bell bottomed body suits singing Dancing Cream, Gimme Gimme Gimme a ham after midnight, Honey Honey Honey Knowing Me Knowing Twinkie Goo, I could do this all day folks).

The movie was fun, but there was one thing that just drove me nuts. Before I get to that, let me shoot off on a short tangent here. Itll tie back around. I promise.

I saw the movie with my brother Adam and his family. Spoken like the third child that I am, let me confirm that its infuriating being his brother. For as long as I can remember, hes always been kind, considerate, talented, upbeat, handsome just an all-around great guy.

Im much more the Esau in this fraternal bond, from the deep love of creamy soup to the exclusion of almost everything else, right down to the excess body hair. (I mean, come on universe, give a guy a break.)

Adam has seven kids, all great, but much like anything in sevens (slices of pizza for dinner, presidential candidates), its a lot. His youngest son, Benny, has Angelman syndrome, which is described by the Mayo Clinic as "a genetic disorder that causes developmental disabilities and neurological problems, such as difficulty speaking, balancing and walking, and, in some cases, seizures." The website also notes that "frequent smiles and outbursts of laughter are common for people with Angelman syndrome, and many have happy, excitable personalities.

Im amazed by all people like my brother and sister-in-law who are parents of special-needs children. Its a 24/7/365 job. It reminds me of way back when I was a paperboy. As a paperboy, you quickly learn the papers got to be delivered no matter what. Christmas? Great, go deliver the papers. Feeling sick? Thats too bad, go deliver the papers.

With a special-needs child, theres no days off of tending to his basic necessary needs. And this is added on to everything else in life work, church, family, etc. And heres the thing: They never complain. If the thought of having to take care of this little guy for decades to come is daunting, they sure dont show it.

That's what made watching "The Force Awakens" so maddening. While the galaxy hangs in the balance and the bad guys are blowing up entire solar systems willy nilly, Luke looks like he's playing Anne of Green Gables, gazing thoughtfully off of craggy cliffs waiting for Gilbert to come sweep him off his feet.

You know who could have used a hand, Luke (real or mechanical either one)? The billions of people from the blown-up planets.

Sadly, Luke confirms what seems to be the defining Jedi trait: When the going gets tough, the tough disappear to remote locations and become the resident weirdo. Yoda, Obi-Wan and Luke each voluntarily disappeared respectively to a swamp planet, a desert planet and an island even Tom Hanks and Wilson would have called sparse. From what we can gather, all they did during their decades-long sojourns was avoid everyone. Never mind that during every one of their extended vacations evil organizations grew from little evil start-ups into huge evil corporations.

Obi-Wan did Luke no favors in his training. This whole "strike me down and I'll become more powerful" business is a crock. From everything we saw, after Obi-Wan is struck down, he shows up once a year as a blue ghost to give advice that, frankly, he could have just easily passed along as a non-ghost.

It all feels like Obi-Wan was using the classic absent parent cop-out: "The kids only see me twice a year, but it makes our time together more special that way." Right, that's what everyone needs from a mentor, less help and day-to-day guidance.

I'm all for learning how to do cool running front flips with a muppet strapped to your back, but Luke would have been better served shadowing my sister-in-law Alexis for a couple weeks.

Try spending all day running around taking care of a huge family while trying to work with a special-needs child who keeps you up half the night. And then when Luke wakes up bleary-eyed the next morning, guess what? He has to do it again. And again the next day. And the next. Maybe after a few weeks he'd realize that even though things get tough, you just keep at it.

This is a lesson the Jedi need to pick up and soon because I really don't want to watch "Star Wars Episode 10: A Rey of Hope" in 20 years and see that Rey has disappeared to live underwater on the outskirts of Gungan society with her only contact to the outside world being Kar Kar Binks (Jar Jar's grandson). All the while the new Evil 3.0 has created a really, really big death laser that can now blow up entire galaxies and everyone is wondering where the heck Rey's been the last 20 years.

Break the cycle, Rey. Just assume one of your apprentices will probably flirt with the dark side, that youre going to take down the evil and a new evil will pop right up (didnt I just clean this mess up?), that life isnt all medal ceremonies and parties with Ewoks.

If you get discouraged and want to pull a Jedi, just remember theres millions of parents out there where, surely on some days, exile to a swamp planet sounds like a soothing vacation. But they stick it out and do it all again the next day and the next and the next.

Thats a true heros journey.
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