I know, I know. This blog is supposed to be about becoming a dad, and raising a child, but bear with me for this tangent.
I saw Star Wars, The Force Awakens. I assumed I'd be relegated to seeing it on BluRay once the kiddo was old enough for me to feel good about walking away for 2+ hours. But, with grandparent support, and my better half knowing that I'd owe her one, I was able to slip out and take in an actual movie in an actual theatre. And there was popcorn and a soda. Crazy, right?
As I watched the film, I was taken by how much respect it had for the Original Trilogy, while shying away from the prequels (thank you JJ). I was also super excited to know that I will one day get to introduce my son to this world, and movies in general. It's "screen time" that I'm okay with letting him have, once he's old enough to grasp the basics. I want to watch him watch all of the Pixar cannon (specifically Toy Story and WALL-E). I am so curious to see A) if he is as taken by films as I am, and B) if so, what stories and genres he's draw to.
As a lighting designer, some of my biggest inspirations come from films, and specifically Cinematography. If I could emulate the looks of Roger Deakins in my theatrical design, I would be a happy camper. But my love of Cinematography evolved late in the game, so to speak. I was never in to theatre as a child, and movies, while awesome and addictive, weren't ever in my mind as a career.
So, how does this apply to the little munchkin? While I don't want to influence his interests, I want to make sure that he's exposed to the artistic side of life as much as possible. He'll get a good amount of socialization in our theatre circles, but as we all know, as he gets older, whatever the parents are in to is the exact opposite of what he'll like. I see it as a balance between showing him all the fun of the arts, while pretending that I don't care if he's interested. I haven't been on stage in 15 years, so my acting chops are rusty. We'll see how it goes.
But Star Wars is a good metaphor for raising a child. In Episode 4, Luke is drawn to the rebellion, while stuck in a mundane existence. He knows there's more to life, but doesn't have a support system to back him up; stupid Uncle Owen making him put off his Academy application until after this year's harvest. And once Luke is free of the responsibility of the farm life, he's thrust into a new world of possibilities, and new opportunities.
Sure, Luke's dad ends up being the bad guy, but I think that's what age 11 is for. I fully expect he'll want to strike me down and become more powerful, but with enough exposure to film and theatre, maybe he'll use a foam sword, or a rubber knife. Maybe he'll hate me a little less because of his experiences. Maybe.
So, for now, I'll just hope that I can, in his eyes, be a little more Yoda and a little less Jar-Jar Binks. Meesa would like that.