Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Hope of Grit and Growth

"Beatrice G. and Bryce G.," called the Jedi training coordinator.

Music to my Force-filled ears. We had missed the regular reservation times and could only sign the girls up as alternates. No guarantees. Come back at least 15 minutes before one of these times later today. Thank you and good luck. And now they were being called to participate!

"I don't know if I want to do it," said Beatrice.

"It'll be fun, Bea. Don't worry," I said.

"I want to do it!" said Bryce.

"Don't worry," said the Mama (what I lovingly call my wife).

"Okay," said Beatrice.

This was the part where many parents come to in the lives of their beloved children: making them do something whether they want to or not -- so we can experience the experiences they need to have that we never experienced otherwise and live these experiences anew vicariously through said beloved children.

Thank you and good luck.

"Do you both want to do it?" asked the coordinator.

I'm not sure if they both said yes or not, but we ushered them to the gated entrance where all the Padawans were corralled, being dressed in robes and prepped.

Bryce beamed when I took her picture in her training robe. Beatrice had that look of constipated anxiety she gets when she's nervous about something, the same look I've had since I was a child and even into adulthood.

I gave Bea a big thumbs up and then we smiled and waved at them both. One of the Jedi training coordinators called for the parents to follow her and led us to the open quad stage where the performance/training would take place.

"I didn't realize we'd be leaving them up there alone," said the Mama.

"I know. They'll be all right, though."

"I'd better go check on them," she said.

"Okay, I'll be right here. Love you."

"Love you."

But then I worried that, by going up there to where the Padawans were being prepped, one or both girls would have a out with the Mama not to do the training exercise. I didn't want that to happen, although I did feel a little guilty about pushing them, Bea especially, out of their comfort zone. I remembered how painfully shy I was at her age, and how tentative I was to try new things like this, to try anything for that matter. Thankfully both girls already have more grit than I did at their ages, more like their Mama in that regard, so I thought they could handle it. It wasn't like we were sending them out to fight for the lives in The Hunger Games.

Right?

I mean, I wanted them to handle it; I would've paid money, begged, may even cry a little if Disneyland would've let me participate in the Jedi training. Even the Mama would've loved to do it.

I waited for the training to start and kept looking in the direction where the Mama went to check on the girls, half-expecting to see her return with one or both of the girls at any moment. I hoped they'd persevere and enjoy the experience. For me. And for them too, of course.

The Star Wars theme music launched and my heart lept back to the summer of 1977. John Williams composes a mean crescendo and diminuendo, that's for sure. The Mama joined me back near the stage, no girls in tow, as a line of Padawans filled the quad, Jedi trainers guiding them to their starting positions.

"Were they all right?" I asked.

"Yep, just fine."

The performance itself was quite entertaining, with all the Jedi trainees collectively controlling and channeling the Force to vanquish the dark side and the Seventh Sister, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Each Padawan had an opportunity to battle the Seventh Sister and Darth Vader, showing off the newly acquired light saber skills.

Because the Force real. Really. No judging, please.

Our girls made us proud, washing away any guilt of pushing them into Jedi training. Pushing Beatrice more than Bryce that is. Which, with all due respect to our beloved children, was pretty minimal in the first place. After the performance ended, the girls ran to us all aglow and confident.

"Did you have fun?"

"Yes, I want to do it again! It was exciting for me," Bea exclaimed.

"Yes! It was awesome" said Bryce.

We want them to get excited like this after trying new things, to experience the unexperienced, and to always see them through. Not all of what's learned will stick long-term, nor will they even like everything they try, but that doesn't matter. What's matters is in their becoming of something better, smarter, stronger and resilient for whatever life throws their way -- and throw things it will, lots of things (damn all those things). What will matter the most is for them (and us) to always be a new hope of grit and growth.


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