The Four Children (of Star Wars)
In the section called the “Four Sons,” the Passover seder very wisely recognizes that different children learn differently, depending on their disposition, level of knowledge, age, etc. Here’s how I got my kids to care about the Four Sons at our seder last night:
The wise son almost always follows the rules. He wants nothing more than to learn from his teachers and to use his learning for the good of others. A lifelong learner, he embodies the spirit of tradition, and uses his skills to live those traditions and pass them on.
Why is he wicked? Not because he is not learned; he knows enough to ask questions! And not because he doesn’t care; he is sitting at the seder table (or the Jedi council, as the case may be). His problem is that he separates himself from those around him, and in so doing, he becomes increasingly self-centered. The wicked son’s choices are about what is best for him and him alone. If others have to suffer to accomplish this, so be it.
The Simple Son
The simple son is not the cleverest or most knowledgeable, but his heart is in the right place. He asks unsophisticated questions, but he cares deeply about what is right. If we explain simply, and encourage him to participate as an equal, he will grow in his understanding and skill and can make a real contribution.
The fourth son has not had the benefit of having been taught. Either because he is too young, or because he simply had no access to the proper education (or because he was being hidden from his Sith Lord father in an effort to save him and the galaxy from destruction). He is not simple, and he is not wicked, but he lacks the knowledge that he needs and does not even know where to begin asking questions. He can be taught, and he can become a great leader, but he needs guidance.