As a child of the ’70s, I considered Han Solo the epitome of manhood.
Fiercely independent, yet secretly sentimental. Skeptical, but willing to believe in magic if he sees it with his own eyes.
Secure enough in his own skin to pursue a princess, but not above taking a wide-eyed farm boy under his wing. Best friends with a Wookiee.
A lovable scoundrel who poses as a mercenary, but who deep down recognizes the best things in life are free.
In short — the ideal dad.
I readily acknowledge that my exposure to Star Wars at a young age shaped the adult I have become. And while Obi Wan was a superb mentor and Vader achieved redemption in the end, it was Han Solo who taught me the most about how to be a good dad.
Here are just a few examples of why I believe General Solo, who had not fathered children with Leia Organa as of the end of Episode VI, still might be the finest father figure in the history of this or any other galaxy:
Nine things Han Solo taught me about fatherhood
1. When the kids get difficult, use redirection.
(And if you must leave a mess for someone else to clean up, tip well.)
2. Trust your instincts. Even in the face of utter uncertainty.
3. If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.
(To be fair, Don Draper also teaches us this.)
4. Give praise where it’s due — but don’t overdo it.
5. Make a smile your default expression.
6. Learn to work with your hands.
7. When all else fails — bluff.
(But if the bluff fails, know when it’s time to cut your losses.)
8. Give the kids room to succeed or fail — but a little help every now and then can’t hurt.
9. Never let them forget how much you love them.
Images/videos: giphy.com; imgur; YouTube
A slightly different version of this post appeared on the Huffington Post following publication here.