On Light Sabers and Princesses

How come Princess Leia isn’t a Jedi Knight? Honestly. It is something to think about. I mean, I’m guessing, because of her lineage, she has the Force. Is she simply untrained? Did someone just not happen to mention to her that perhaps, she too, could perform mind tricks. Fight the Dark Side. Levitate around a room. Come on, Princess. Pick up your brother’s lightsaber. Give it a try.

I ask my husband. Ugh. His answer is not good. “She’s a girl.” If you know me, and he has known me for awhile, you know what he knows: Don’t mess with the “she’s a girl” stuff. Because I will wrap you up and spin you around this house. Without the help of a lightsaber. No, it’s not because she’s a girl. That’s not it.

Maybe she just hasn’t felt the need to become one yet. Leave the easy stuff to the guys.

Well, Leia, here you go. November 20th is Kick A Ginger Day. I guess there is a TV show, an adult cartoon, that makes a joke about kicking red haired people on this day. Why?, I ask, when I hear of this day. Because Gingers have no souls, I am told. You kick them because they have no souls. Well that is lovely. And with everything else that is happening in our world right now, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I am not.

I don’t want to get all judgmental, either, about the television shows watched by our children. Because although I try to prevent mature viewing by the immature audience in our own home, many things can be witnessed via YouTube. It isn’t difficult. And while I can go ahead and assume that the premise of this particular episode was drenched in sarcasm, that humor was missed by the preteen audience who decided to start kicking.

This does not happen just at our school. All around our country, all around our world, on this day, red haired people are kicked, at the same time. It is so very difficult to orchestrate an international conference call, but not this, no. This is easy, I guess.

I am horrified when I read the email from the principal at my son’s school. Deeply saddened, too. Also, I am not above wondering if perhaps my own child could have been involved. I mean, I am not wondering too much, because he is him and him is mine. But, hey, he is a middle schooler. And middle school is like that.

When he gets home, I ask. He rolls his eyes. He does that a lot. Of course not, he tells me. The whole thing is stupid, he says. But he is not as horrified as I am.  Kids got carried away, he explains. They didn’t think before they did it. No one got hurt, he says. (Easy for you to say, I mention). The parents are going nuts, that’s the big problem, he says.

It bothers me that it doesn’t bother him more.

But what he says about parents going nuts, well, I agree with that. He doesn’t mean going nuts trying to address the issue. He means going nuts, pointing fingers, expressing outrage, blaming. Just being angry. On all sides of the problem. Even those, maybe especially those, completely uninvolved in the incident. It is so easy to criticize parenting when it isn’t you doing the parenting.

Well, eventually, after a few well written emails, by the principal, the superintendent, the mayor, the whole thing blows over. I think. I mean, I don’t have a red headed kid and I don’t have a kicking kid. But I haven’t heard much about it in awhile. Here is the thing, though: November 20th comes every year. Even though I am sure our school will be on High Kick Alert next year, these traditions have a way of coming back around.

So, let’s harness that crazy, parents. Let’s take out the lightsabers. Maybe this is what took Leia so long. Restoring freedom and honor to the galaxy is one thing, but kicking kids? That is a problem of a much higher order.

This is my plan and I want you to join me.  Make November 20th our very own Random Acts of Kindness Day. We don’t have to take on the whole world. Or even our entire country. Let’s just start with our small city. And let’s not limit it to  people of a certain hair color. Let’s be nice to everyone.

Random acts of kindness. November 20th. I know it is almost an entire year away, but hey, put it on your calendar. I’ll call the mayor. I’ve introduced myself enough times that I think he is starting to remember my name. All we need is a few posters, commitment from the schools to spread the word. And then all of us, too. Let’s start with us. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Give up that parking spot to the car waiting behind you. Reach out to someone who might be lonely. Or sad.

And then mention a few random acts to your kids. Clean up someone else’s lunch. Let the kid with the bottom locker get his stuff first. Hey, maybe hold open a door. Compliment someone just because.

I know we should do it everyday, but we don’t. And I like the idea of taking back the day. It makes me feel powerful.

We can make it work. And if it doesn’t, I’ve got the lightsaber. And am working on the mind tricks. I’ve always wanted to be a princess.

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