About a month ago I was asked by my bishop if I would be willing to speak at my church. He said that he felt like our congregation needed to hear from me. Now, most of you know that I would rather be interrogated by an agitated Kylo Ren on the beaches of Mustafar while being shot with Force lightning than speak in front of anyone, let alone 200-300 people. I’m the introvert that usually sits in the back of most rooms and doesn’t like very much attention. So why did I say yes?! Or did I? There may have been a mind trick involved.
The topic I was asked to speak on was following and supporting righteous leaders, whether they be parents, grandparents, teachers, church leaders, or even our children. I usually get really nervous speaking in front of anyone, and since I don’t have the willpower or resolution of Qui-Gon Jinn I needed to figure out a way to calm myself down. So I decided to mix into my talk some Star Wars. Ok, maybe a lot of Star Wars.
The Star Wars scene that came to mind immediately when thinking about following righteous leaders was from The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda was training Luke on Dagobah. Luke is impatient, whiny, and wants to do things on his terms. How often do we act like this? How often do we think we know better than our teacher or parent? Oftentimes, it takes great faith on the student’s part to follow a mentors teachings, because the student usually has limited knowledge and experience from which to pull. Despite Luke’s lack of faith, Yoda continues to patiently counsel and train him. When Yoda tells Luke that he must unlearn what he has learned and that he can lift his X-wing out of the swamp, Luke is skeptical. He doesn’t believe his master. And when Luke fails to lift out his X-wing, Yoda, like any patient and wise teacher, gives him more wise counsel.
When Luke tells Yoda that his ship is too big to lift out of the swamp Yoda explains to him that size doesn’t matter. Yoda knows Luke can do it. Luke just doesn’t know it himself. How often do we see potential in our children (like Yoda saw in Luke) that they don’t see in themselves? We know that our kid can ride his/her bike without training wheels. We’ve done it ourselves and we’ve seen others do it, but our child can’t get over their mental hurdle. It’s ok for them to fall a few times, especially if it motivates them to get up and try again and try harder. The risk comes in them failing so many times that they don’t want to try again. Luke was near that point.
Luke says to Yoda, “You want the impossible.” Luke’s faith in Yoda’s teachings and in himself was at a tipping point. Yoda needed to rekindle Luke’s belief that he could be a Jedi and that what Yoda was trying to teach him was possible to learn. While Luke is pouting Yoda lifts Luke’s X-wing out of the swamp and a breathless Luke says, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda’s response (“That is why you fail.”) is concise and tells Luke all he needs to know. Yoda was trying to tell Luke what was possible and Luke didn’t believe him. And Luke gave up too soon. So Yoda showed him by lifting out Luke’s ship. Luke was humbled, but his confidence was buoyed. He started to understand that he had much to learn about the Force.
After I finished my talk I was trying to pull a The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker and just vanish. Unfortunately, there was no escape pod, and even if there was my wife and kids may have been mad at me for leaving them. I was hoping that my talk may have inspired someone in the audience to be a better learner and to be humble enough to learn from those who care about them. But mostly I just wanted to escape and recharge my introvert batteries. However, a funny thing happened: a lot of people wanted to talk with me about Star Wars! Men and women. Old and young. People of different races. It didn’t matter. People I had never met were telling me their stories about Star Wars. A man in his 70s that I had never talked with told me about his son who lives in Okinawa and has a huge Star Wars Lego collection. A teenage boy who was visiting my church that day thanked me for talking about Star Wars. Another guy told me his young son actually stayed awake to hear about Star Wars. And it really wasn’t anything I did. It was just another of many examples to me of how Star Wars crosses all age, gender, and race lines. I’m not sure if my talk motivated anyone to be a better learner, but it definitely motivated me to talk more about Star Wars. As if I needed that motivation.
Thanks so much for reading my blog. And thanks to Dan and Cory for letting me be a part of Coffee With Kenobi. You can contact me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to hear me talk more about Star Wars feel free to listen to the Idiot’s Array podcast. And remember:
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