Introducing Ask a Nerd Dad, a new column dedicated to asking your best nerd based fatherhood questions. I will do my best to answer each question as truthfully as possible. While I am no expert, I am a nerd father of 2 young boys. I have a ton of experience in being a nerd and a few years of fatherhood under my belt. I look forward to hearing from you. Now on to this week’s question:
Dear Chris, how do I teach my kids about the dark side, while being a responsible parent?
Not Kylo Ren
Dear Matt (Radar Technician),
Darth Vader is without a doubt my favorite Star Wars character. I have a Funko Pop figure of Vader on my desk. One of the earliest things my oldest son could say was “Darf Bader.”
I absolutely grew up in awe while seeing Vader on the screen. He is powerful and terrifying. Make no mistake, he is an absolute bad ass. He’s also a deeply flawed human being who seeks redemption and forgiveness at the end of his tale. There are incredible life lessons to learn from the journey of Anakin Skywalker. As Yoda famously said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” This could and should be on a bumper sticker. Its life lesson 101 material.
I say embrace your love of the Dark Side, but show your kids why it ultimately cannot win. Revel in Vader’s Rebel annihilation skills, the Empire’s beautiful stark industrial design, but counter with the fact that Vader lost a wife, children, and had zero friends. You can’t go through life with everyone scared you will force choke them to death. It just doesn’t work for anyone.
Nerd Dad Chris