A father’s 15 rules to live by

There was nothing more magical and mysterious when I was growing up than experiencing Luke Skywalker’s evolution as a Jedi in the original Star Wars Trilogy.

Here’s the thing — I love Star Wars. And so does our whole family.

Even with the Disney at the helm. Even with the departures undertaken in The Last Jedi. Even the prequals. Even Jar-Jar.

We love it. And we don’t apologize for it.

There’s something eternally captivating about any brilliantly crafted Epic Story. (And I mean the true definition of the word “Epic” here — not the term that gets tossed around to describe anything screaming for appeal on instagram.)

It points us to a story that’s larger than ourselves.

One of our favorite elements of the Star Wars saga is of course seeing the mastery of the Jedi Arts on display. There’s an intrinsic desire deep within many of us Star Wars fans that longs for the existence of a true mystical knightly order — one that is trained to guard peace and provide justice and hope in the universe.

The presence of this theme was on my mind once more recently as we were making our way through the films yet again. And it has had me wondering what a true Jedi might look like in our world today. The more I thought about it the more I began to unearth the practical implications for our children.

It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite reads and inspired me to prepare my own adapted list below.

To that end — here are 15 rules a real modern day Jedi Knight lives by:

  1. Be the owner of your time— A Jedi is never ruled by FOMO. He lives his life with margin, and he has ruthlessly eliminated the “hurry” out of his existence completely by marking out a time and space each day for meditation and prayer. He has also established a day each week dedicated solely to resting, recharging and re-creating. Because he does this he is able to plan well and he has confidence in how he has chosen to balance his priorities. Thus he is able to launch out and engage his world without becoming a product of it. He lives life on his terms and redeems all available time for his most important treasures.
  2. Pursue what is real— You will never find a Jedi welded to her phone like most other people in her world. She will at all costs chase her community down for actual in-person face time rather than succumb to the shallowness of communicating with emojis. She will not pursue something simply because it’s easy. If she can create it herself, or perform it herself, then she will. Even if she must learn something new. She knows that a life of comfort and convenience compromises the soul — therefor she is not a slave to technology.
  3. Be useful, not important— a Jedi is not concerned with status or popularity. He isn’t interested in “titles”, “brands”, or his “following” beyond what is absolutely essential as a vehicle for bringing value to others. You will never see him devoting his time, resources or attention to interests that are not productive or beneficial in some way. It is this fundamental attitude that allows him to live a life of impact and influence.
  4. Show…do not tell — A Jedi never has to announce to the world that she is a Jedi — she simply behaves as one. She is keenly aware that she is better than no one, and no one is better than her. She recognizes the connectedness of all creatures, cultures, and economies. She knows her world will not change for the better if she is not constantly allowing herself to be changed for the better. She is always slow to speak and quick to listen. And she is an eternal learner. She refuses to let “self” become the epicenter of her existence.
  5. Be content with right now — A Jedi exercises gratitude every day. She sees every moment as a gift and her soul is quiet with contentment. She cherishes the things that are eternal rather than temporal. And she knows that the simple joys in life are the greatest ones. Because of this she has never forgotten how to have fun. She is confident not only in who she is but in whose she is. She knows she’s loved right where she’s at and she is aware of the contribution she can bring to the world. She has discovered her calling — not by finding meaningful work — but by bringing meaning to her work. She is glad to take pride in all things large and small. She keeps careful track of her belongings and she cleans and cares for her tools and weapons. She tends to her own health. Always prompt, she is never flippant with the time of others. She is the best kind of servant — always leaving every space she enters brighter and cleaner than when she arrived. Her surroundings reflect her state of being.
  6. Master the Art of Discipline — A Jedi has the story of David and Goliath written on his heart. He has never forgotten that one of the secrets to David’s victory was his experience in having already faced and killed the lion and the bear before ever being confronted by Goliath. He is ever aware of the truth that he will perform as he practices. He focuses on setting habits in his life more so than setting goals. The more disciplined, structured, and ordered he makes his life…the more freedom he continues to find. He has perceived that he cannot master the seven forms of light saber combat if he has not first mastered himself. He also sees that his life is not anyone’s responsibility but his own, and he is continually mindful of the choice he has to give his all in every circumstance.
  7. Know and be known — A Jedi lives in community. She has a tribe. She knows that the quality of her life will, to a large extent, be decided by with whom she has elected to spend her time. And she has decided to spend her time with friends who love her for who she is and not because they are impressed by her. She is not as moved by grand gestures as she is by the real backbone of a relationship — the simple moments of life’s daily workings. She is always a source of calm and a reliable companion to her circles in times of turmoil. But perhaps even more significantly, she is also the friend to whom others rush to share good news. She is wholeheartedly supportive.
  8. Be a fountain of Grace— A Jedi knows he has weaknesses. He is human after all and he knows that where there are peaks there will be valleys. He knows he can be angry with himself when he has disappointed, but he is able to let those feelings pass over and through him. Like a dead tree limb that has fallen to the ground, which then decomposes and provides nourishment to the soil below, his disappointments transform into elements of change and growth. He makes mistakes and people he loves make mistakes, but he remains aware of the need to judge himself and others only at their best — not at their worst. He knows that “success” is most easily measured by how he handles his disappointments. He does not need a perfect family or an ideal community. The ones he has are good enough for living a Jedi life right where they’re at.
  9. Be Courageous — A Jedi has no interest in spectating. He always seeks after participation. He knows that anything that gives light must endure burning, and he is an overcomer of fear. He knows there is no shame in fear — it is simply his resource for tapping into peak performance. Fear is his call and courage is his answer, and when he struggles to find it, he relies on his mindfulness. He knows that what is most essential comes intuitively. He pays painstaking attention to detail because he is aware that what he needs to know is simply right in front of him. He doesn’t believe there are secrets to life — just details that most individuals choose not to notice. He uses those details as building blocks for bridges to his goals rather than taking blind leaps of faith.
  10. Fight injustice — A Jed has observed that the most blessed people in the universe are those that are poor in spirit, are mourning, are meek, are hungry, are merciful, are pure in heart, are peaceable, and are persecuted. Therefore, he ferociously fights for the well being and equality of all persons in those categories. He is never present when men, women, races, ethnicities, cultures or creeds are being degraded or compromised, because if a Jedi were present, those committing the hurtful acts or words would be made to stop.
  11. Overflow with Generosity — A Jedi does not ever forget what determines worth. He sees how the creatures of his world are sustained and are able to flourish without obsessing over their futures. Because he has mastered rule number 5, he sees wealth not as the accumulation of vast sums of money but as the cultivation of a mindset for needing very little. To him, possessions are most often a distraction from the real work of a Jedi’s life — which is helping others. He gives freely of his time and resources. He’s drawn a circle around his standards for a life well lived, and the receipt of any treasures above and beyond those standards are deployed as means for the restoration and renewal of others.
  12. Only speak life — The mouth of the Jedi is a fountain of life. She is conscious of her ability to bring about the best in others by simply speaking it over them. She senses from her innermost being that all of existence itself was brought about through the power of a spoken word — thus she speaks renewal over all things and lives with confident expectation transformation will follow.
  13. Remember death — A Jedi lives each day as if he’s about to be deployed to his final mission against the Empire with the possibility of not returning. He has his affairs in order. He has handled his business. He has told his children and family that he loves them, and he has chosen to not have time for petty matters. He believes that the current version of this world is not all that there is, and therefore he doesn’t fall prey to the need to maximize pleasure in the hedonistic ways that his world tries to draw him into. He worries not about simply seizing the day but seizing his soul.
  14. Know The Force — A Jedi perceives that there is indeed a force behind the universe. He knows, however, that this force isn’t simply an impartial living energy that balances good and evil — rather the True Force is a creative mind and a personal heart that has designed every detail of existence…including him. He realizes that this force draws circles around his creation— not lines between them. And he has come to understand that while believing in the force saves us— it is the act of following Him that sets us free.
  15. Know The Force’s Power — A Jedi recognizes that the ultimate power behind the Force is LOVE — it is one of three eternal secrets that will last forever. Her heart is anchored by the hope that Love brings and it is by this Love of the Force that she is able to care for all in her world and accept herself as she is. Through the power of Love she exercises patience and kindness to overcome even the darkest of evils.

What rules would you have included? What would you have changed or left off?

Ryan resides in Lantana, TX with his wife Katie and four children Kaisley Grace, Elijah Wyatt, Judah West, and June Selah. He works for a large construction management firm in the commercial building industry by day.

Ryan enjoys reading, writing, and just about anything that takes place outdoors. Though he’s probably never had an original thought, he possesses an omnivorous appetite for the insights of teachers much smarter than Him and he enjoys spreading their work widely. He is a Storyteller, and his mission is to help bring value to people by exploring and explaining.

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Originally published at medium.com