Han Solo and Princess Leia stood on the precipice of crisis (does one need to say “spoiler alert!” for a movie that’s been out for nearly a year?). Their son, Kylo Ren, was out of control. Han knew it, but doubted whether he was the right person to attempt to steer Kylo away from the dark side, and he wanted Kylo’s uncle to step into the gap. Like Kylo, Luke Skywalker was a Jedi and had personally trained Kylo. But Leia reminded Han of his unique identity.
“Luke is a Jedi. You’re his father,” Leia challenged Han. “Bring back our son.”
Han then leaves on his final adventure. A noble one. His last journey is to attempt to persuade Kylo to give up evil and pursue good.
As The Force Awakens fans know, Han was not successful in his attempt to stem Kylo’s violence. But he was successful at doing what nobody else could: He stood with his son and pled with him as only a father can.
Han stands as a model for dads everywhere. No matter who else is in our children’s lives, nobody can replace their fathers.
The statistics about the impact of engaged fathers are remarkable. Consider just these few facts (source). Children with engaged fathers are:
- 45% less likely to repeat a grade;
- 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school;
- 2x as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school;
- 75% less likely to have a teen birth; and,
- 80% less likely to spend time in jail.
Dads don’t need “the force” or superpowers to make a massive impact on the world. They just need the willingness to meaningfully engage with their children.
Our children will benefit from great teachers, wonderful coaches, caring pastors, helpful mentors, and engaging scout leaders. But our role as dad stands above all other roles.
Engagement with our kids happens via big things (staying close, hiking slowly, sharing your story, etc.) and small things (making up ridiculous stories, playing games, enjoying science together, etc.)