A single word with endless meanings and possibilities.
Some revere us as almost demi-gods, with powers beyond their comprehension.
Useful when you need to get something quickly, but in excess it gets annoying.
Some hate us, fearing what they do not know. That fear leads to anger, as if
they are thinking ?How dare they come here? All high-and-mighty, acting as if
they know all.?
Ironically, I can almost hear Master Yoda?s voice, repeating the age-old saying
that is one of the first things we are taught. Fear leads to anger, anger leads
to hate, of the Dark Side, these things are.
The second thing we learn is not to mock or correct Yoda?s way of speaking.
Let?s just say that he doesn?t need that stick to get around.
For me, Jedi has always meant family.
We are taken from our birth families when we are very little, too young to have
formed strong attachments. But even as we leave our birth-family behind, we
become part of a second, larger family.
There are people who claim that the Jedi steal babies, seeing it as an
un-necessary cruelty. That is not true. Our parents choose to give us up,
because we have a gift that will always mark us as different, and because the
Jedi can teach us what they cannot.
I see it as moving to a foster house. It is not the place where we were born,
but it is the place that we eventually come to identify as our home.
Perhaps it sounds like some foolish platitude, like you see on posters trying to
enlist you for something, but it is true. The Temple becomes our home, and the
other Jedi become our family.
The cr?che workers are like grandparents, or doting aunts and uncles, who love
and care and teach you as you grow. Your cr?che-mates and fellow Younglings and
Initiates are like your cousins. You don?t have to like or be close to all of
them, but you form friendships that are never broken.
I am a Padawan. The term is associated with ?Student?, but in reality it is
much, oh so much, more.
In an ancient dialect, I forget which, Padawan literally translated as
Heart-child. Fitting, really. Your master is your mentor and teacher, but they
become as your mother or father. They comfort you when you are scared or hurt,
they sit by you at the healer?s, they are proud of your accomplishments and they
scold your wrongdoings. They love and protect you, and you look up at them with
bright eyes as they smile down at you.
To outside and unknowing eyes, you are Master and Apprentice, but in your heart,
in the bond between you, you are Parent and Child.
Then there is your Master?s Master, your GrandMaster, who tells you embarrassing
and funny stories about when your Master was a Padawan while said Master tries
to pretend they have no idea what you are talking about, and who possesses the
amazing ability to make your Master squirm like an errant child while you
carefully hide your amusement, unless you wish for several extra hours
meditating on exactly why One does not snicker at One?s Master behind their
Or at least, why One does not snicker at One?s Master behind their back and be
foolish enough to get caught in the act.
There is also your Master?s ex-Padawans, and their Padawans, and the ones that
your Master will train after you are Knighted. They are your brothers and
sisters, to tease and be teased, to spoil and be spoiled by, to exchange ideas
about how to talk your Master into something, to gossip and laugh and debate
with about things like speeders and what this senator was wearing to that party,
things that will cause your Master to give you an odd look then quietly laugh
about ?kids these days?.
Attachment is forbidden by the Code, but attachment and love are not the same
Attachment is something you cling to possessively, something that leads to
jealousy and anger that anyone would dare to try and take that away from you.
Like two children squabbling over a toy, both the attached and the object of the
attachment tend to get damaged as a result.
Love, on the other hand, is a connection. It binds the world together, and serve
to create wonderful things as a result. A farmer tills and tends the earth, and
crops spring up, to feed and sustain life, or beautiful flowers emerge, bringing
life and light to brighten a dwelling, or gift to another. Compassion can be
defined as unconditional love, and is central to the life of the Jedi.
They are similar at first glance, but they are not the same, and the difference
is greater than I think any truly grasp.
Perhaps it is not good to have relations with birth-family, but the family that
is the Jedi Order is bigger than any one of us, and as long as even one
Force-Sensitive remains, none of us will ever truly be gone.
Original cover by PrincessKenobi4. HTML formatting copyright 2005 TheForce.Net LLC.