Midi-Chlorian Probabilities

(AJ is now 8-years-old; he is a HUGE fan of Star Wars.)

AJ: Dad…who do you think is the most powerful
jedi ever?

Me: I can’t say “ever”, because I have only watched
the films and cannot speak of any characters that
may have mentioned in the books you have read.

Okay…so who is the most powerful jedi in the
movies you have seen?

I would have to say Yoda.

I think you are mistaken, Dad; I think it is Anakin.

What makes you think that it might be Anakin?

His midi-chlorian levels are the biggest ever –
even bigger than Yoda’s.

I think your logic is mistaken, buddy – but give me
a moment to think about how I might explain why…

.    .    .    .

There are some days that I just wonder if I really know what I doing with this whole parenting-thing…then – every once in a while – there are days like these.

.    .    .    .

Did you know that Grandpa knows how to
build houses?

No, he doesn’t.

No, seriously, he does. His father was a carpenter.
Three of his brothers are carpenters and he helped
build his brother’s house and quite a few garages too.

I didn’t know that.

So, let me ask you this: Suppose I gave you the
best wood possible to build the sturdiest house you can.

Okay…

And then I give Grandpa some “okay” materials –
enough to do the job, but not as strong as the
wood that you have.

Yeah…

If I asked each of you to build a house, whose
house will stand the strongest in the wind?

Grandpa’s.

Why?

I don’t know how to build houses.

But your house has the best materials.

But Grandpa knows how to build a better house
than me.

All right, let me ask you this, then: When was
Anakin’s blood tested to determine that his
midi-chlorian levels were so ridiculously high?

In episode 1.

When he was an awesome jedi?

No…he hadn’t learned the ways of the force yet.

But if his midi-chlorian levels make his a
good jedi, then why did he need training?

Ooohhhh – because he has the potential to be
a great jedi.

Exactly. I would argue that while his midi-chlorian
levels gave him the potential to maybe be a better jedi
than Yoda, there were other qualities that he
possessed (or that were altogether missing) that
prevented him from being more powerful than Yoda.

The same thing happens all the time in life.

What do you mean?

What subject comes easiest for you in school?

Reading.

Would you say that you are a good reader naturally,
or that you have worked hard to be a good reader?

I have worked a little-bit hard, but not really
hard…more natural, I guess.

So – you are a good reader, because you had the
potential to be a good reader and you work at it and
you try to understand things more and because you
like it, right?

I guess so.

So should you ridicule a child in your class who
isn’t as good at reading as you?

No.

Why not?

Because, it is mean…and maybe it is hard for
them to learn and they are still working hard.

What if they aren’t hard workers? Should you
ridicule them now?

No.

Why not?

It’s still mean.

Maybe, but let me ask you this: You try hard
in almost everything you do. Why?

Because…I just do.

Do you think you try hard because it is natural
for you or because you have grown up in a home
with parents who have taught you the importance
of working hard?

[pause]

Both.

What if a child doesn’t have the natural ability
or desire to learn or try hard? What do they need?

Someone to teach them.

What if their parents don’t know how to teach them
and the child never learns how to work hard?

Then it’s the parent’s fault.

What if their parents never taught them?

Then it’s their fault…and then maybe it was their parents fault too?

I don’t think you can blame anyone, buddy. I would
just try to remind you that there are a lot of
things in this world that seem to happen because of
the many other things before them, and many of those
things are out of their control. The only thing that
you or I have control of is what we choose to do in
any given moment, and even our choices will be
influenced by everything that has happened to us before.

But, most importantly – that is why Yoda was a more
powerful jedi than Anakin.

So, you are saying everything is really, really complicated.

No – I’m saying it’s complex.

What’s the difference?

Not today, dude.

Not today.

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