Sorry for the extraordinarily low blogging output over the last couple of weeks. Between having a newborn at home (as well as two other little guys), and work truly ratcheting up a notch (or ten), I simply haven't had time to post. Work in particular has really escalated in time requirements, as I will be testifying on two cases in the next three weeks. A blog post or two on the the nature of testifying as an expert witness should be in order, but needless to say preparing for the grilling I am about to receive necessitates I focus more on those cases, and less on my web page!
I did want to briefly comment on one of (in my opinion) the truly great joys of being a parent - the parental "firsts." As in, the first time you are able to witness your child do a certain activity (such as walking, talking, etc.), or the first time you are able to do something with your child. The walking and talking stuff is obviously major, but it is also well known; I recently had a "first "with my oldest child, something a bit more subtle and less obvious, but nonetheless a wonderful experience.
My son recently turned seven, and we've always tried to guide him towards movies and television shows that we considered age appropriate (not easy in this day and age!). Well, I decided being seven years old is old enough for the Star Wars movies, since I was seven when I first saw it, and I didn't come out too badly scarred. Of course, he was thrilled with the idea, as he not only had been hearing about the films from other kids, but had recently been inundated with advertising and merchandising due to the recent release of the animated Star Wars film. So, I rented the DVD of the first Star Wars (not chronologically, but the first one made), told him he was old enough, and sat down to watch it with him.
I was a bit afraid this was going to be anticlimactic, as the release of Star Wars in the 1970s was a different animal than watching it today. When Star Wars first came out, there really hadn't been anything like it - it was truly a new cinematic experience that captured the imagination of a generation. I've read that the cast and crew of the movie weren't even sure how it was going to perform at the box office. Nowadays, kids have seen numerous other shows that either owe something to Star Wars, or at least offer entertainment comparable to Star Wars, such that I feared seeing it for the first time wouldn't be special for my son the way it was for me. Throw in the fact that although I think the special effects of Star Wars have aged fairly well for a movie over 30 years old, today's kids have seen much better. Nevertheless, we pressed ahead.
Ultimately, I had nothing to worry about. My son loved, it, talked about with friends the next day, and immediately asked about seeing The Empire Strikes Back. We had a great time watching it together, especially since any questions he had about the movie could be readily answered by me (when I was a kid, there was no such reference around!). Of course, he loved the Luke Skywalker character (as most all kids do, until they get older and can truly appreciate Han Solo), and he now revels in having some of the background to the toys he has. All in all, it was a marvelous experience, and I have no doubt it was enhanced by waiting until he was seven. My thinking is that in order to appreciate, even on a concrete level, some of the good vs. evil, the concept of the Force (as inconsistent as it is), the complexity of the story, a child needs to be of a certain age/cognitive level. See it too soon, and they won't "get" much of the story. But, since they've already seen it, it won't have any sort of special impact when they see it again at seven or eight, even if they understand more of it. I might be wrong, sure, but at least for my son, I don't think so.
Of course, now we'll watch Empire, as well as Return of the Jedi. And if I have too, We may even watch the prequels (though I might have to conveniently "deal with an emergency" that will get me out of the room for those). Overall, though, this was a "first" moment I am extremely fond of, and I'm glad it happened the way it did. My next film "first," I think, is Raiders of the Lost Ark, but I think I'll hold off on that one until he's 9 or 10; there's even more subtlety and complexity in that film, in addition to melting faces - let's hold off until we are clear of potential nightmares!