Awareness of the principal elements that combine to form's one's native culture is an important element in a child's social development. So when I was left home to take care of the kids while my wife spent the evening watching her kid brother play football I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and treat my two oldest kids to an in-home viewing of one of the cinematic classics of contemporary American culture-- Star Wars.
They were playing on the swing set in the backyard when I broke the news.
"Oh Dad, you're the sweetest dad!" was my five-year-old daughter's response, her voice the very essence of exuberance and excitement.
"Star Wars! Star Wars! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" was all my three-year-old son could manage to verbalize as he dismounted the swing and ran, nearly falling over himself, toward the back door.
Yes, Star Wars, that classic of American science-fiction cinema.
Although I do so somewhat sheepishly, I have to admit that there's a soft spot in my heart for that movie and its sequels. There are plenty of films that do everything Star Wars did better than Star Wars did it, but none of them tug at my heart-strings the way Star Wars does.
I think that's because I never watched any of them on network television over Thanksgiving break when I was 7, 8, 9, and 10 years old. Sitting there in front of the TV [most likely] with a plate of left-over pumpkin pie and a glass of egg-nog, I was absolutely captivated by the Star Wars universe. The absurdities of things like the development of relationships between the characters and their inane dialogue went completely unnoticed by my young self, while the wonders and possibilities of an unknown universe filled my mind with awe and excitement. Sitting in the family room watching Star Wars on a small TV screen, with the constant threat of a commercial break looming just around the corner, was pure fun. And that's truly the forte of the Star War's franchise- the films are fun.
So, for the same reason that I take my kids camping and play games with them and read them stories and teach them to ride a bike, I watched Star Wars with them in my living room on Friday night- because it's a fun thing for a dad to do with his kids.