Dads: Be a Luke and not a Vader

Thoughts of how the relationship between father and child works have been on my mind this week. It’s funny too because I just realized tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m listening to the “Vertigo” album from U2 which came out as Bono was working through his relationship to his father.

I spent a lot of time asking what a good father should be as I worked through each phase of my life: graduating, getting married, becoming a dad and having kids. But now that I’m seeing my own kids begin to graduate I’m actually recognizing the pivotal decisions I’ve made because of what I decided about being a good son.

Everybody has a dad that dropped the ball... or cut off an arm.

Everybody has a dad that dropped the ball… or cut off an arm.

Sometimes you wish your dad was somebody else.... and you wish he hadn't cut off your arm.

Sometimes you wish your dad was somebody else…. and you wish he hadn’t cut off your arm.

Yes, Luke Skywalker is a whiner, and there is no whiney-er moment than when he finds out Darth Vader is his father. I suppose it adds insult to injury after cutting off his arm but you gotta hand it to Luke (get it?), he turns it around in “Return of the Jedi”

  • He goes back to Yoda’s place to apologize for bailing on the little green guy who told him he wasn’t ready. To Yoda’s credit he didn’t rub it in by asking, “how did that trip work out for you lefty?”
  • Luke chooses to deliberately look for the plusses and not the negatives in his newfound dad…
    • “I’ll never turn to the Dark Side. You’ve failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
    • “There is still good in him.”
    • “Search your feelings, Father, you can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.”
    • “Because, there is good in him. I’ve felt it. He won’t turn me over to the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.”
  • Luke builds a foundation on what his dad is, not what he isn’t and uses it to encourage someone else….Princess Leia: Luke, don’t talk that way. You have a power I don’t understand and could never have.

    Luke: You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you’ll learn to use it as I have. The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And… my sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.

Again, awkward family moment…. but you have to admire a guy that can turn that around.

Don’t spend your time hoping someone else will change. That will halt the progress of you life and relationships until you decide you’re the only one who’s decisions matter. Like it or not, there is some form of life and power and authority you inherit from your Dad whether he was amazing or awful. It is up to you to recognize it and then choose which you will make your own, which you will forgive and which you will hand to others.

It is up to you to choose the life and not the dysfunction of your Father.

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