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I mean, parents aren't just going to give up their child because some power-wielding monk or nun shows up at their door saying they want to take that child and train them in their ways and the parents will never see them again and the child will have no family; right? Some may suggest the child chooses, but Anakin being old enough to understand and choose was a one-time rarity. Even if the kid did decide to go, what parent would let them? And what toddler would want to go? Uh, hello? Stranger-danger? Young children are obsessed with their parents even if they whine, they always return to adorement, if the parents are good- so why would a kid go?

Most little kids I know would scream at being put on the lap of the familiar Santa, and leaving 'mommy' to live with a cloaked stranger- what?

So maybe some galactic parents out there are so heartless they give up their child (or so dedicated to the cause). Or maybe in the rare case of a kid wanting to go, like I said, what parent would let a Jedi take their kid? A good father would grab his blaster.

Do the Jedis mind-trick people into letting them take their kids? If so, the Jedis are kidnappers!

Anyway, that's my highest-ranking guess- mind tricks. Because honestly, not every Force-sensitive individual has the tragic no-parent story, and 98% of parents will want their kids, and... well... a kid may or may not want to go, but then there's the 98% of parents to intervene.

With that huge guess, what do you all think/what is an official Star Wars source of info for this topic?

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I was always under the impression that the jedi did indeed kidnap the force sensitive infants they found. Not sure though – sevvack Jan 9 at 6:01
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Jedi Mind Tricks.. :) – Evil Angel Jan 9 at 6:24
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"parents aren't just going to give up their child because some power-wielding monk ..." Really? Then explain how we've had 14 Dalai Lama's at this point. – CandiedOrange Jan 9 at 21:19
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The gist of this question seems fine, but I couldn't help but to think that this was a rant disguised as a question when reading it. Could you trim this question down so that it's a bit more subjective? – Mooz Jan 10 at 20:56
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Make fun? Rude? Look up how the Dalai Lama is chosen. Then tell me I'm making a joke. Are you really seeking knowledge or do you just want to get defensive? – CandiedOrange Jan 11 at 5:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

CANON: We get a glimpse of what taking-a-Force-sensitive-youngling-to-the-Jedi-Temple could look like in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV Series.

MACE: The Kyber crystal, the data on which can only be read by holocrons.

AHSOKA: What's on the crystal?

MACE: A list of every known Force-sensitive child in the galaxy, the future younglings, the future of the Jedi Order. ― Holocron Heist

From the episode Holocron Heist:

[Cad] Bane is after [...] the Kyber crystal, that with the holocron could crack the data on the crystal, which contains information, listing the all Force-sensitive children in the galaxy; the future of the Jedi Order.

From the episode Children of the Force:

On Rodia, Bane poses as a Jedi, claiming that he is to take the child Wee Dunn to Coruscant; his mother protests that Master Bolla Ropal insisted that he is too young to do so; Bane insists, bluffing that there are "impostor" Jedi roaming around but Wee's mother refuses to let him go. Bane then uses a spinning device to "relax" her.

Kenobi then arrives on Rodia, hurrying to Wee's home [...] demanding to know where Bane is. Bane then appears in the door, before flying off to his fighter and taking off.

enter image description here

Here's a video clip.

The fact that Bane thinks this would work indicates that this is the normal practice of the Jedi. Simply switch Bane out and insert a real Jedi in his place and we get a good picture of what might normally happen:

  1. The Jedi review their list of known Force-sensitive children
  2. The Jedi visit the homes of these prospective younglings to meet with the parents
  3. The Jedi try to show the parents the value in what they're trying to do
    • Some happily entrust their children to be raised in the ways of the Force
    • Some can be hesitant or mistrustful of the Jedi and might choose not to let their child go with the Jedi
  4. The children whose parents consented to have them trained are brought to the Jedi Temple
  5. Master Yoda instructs all younglings in the ways of the Force until they are ready to become Padawans

This process of recruiting Force-sensitive children is similar to what Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter) and Professor Xavier (X-Men) do when recruiting magical or gifted children. We can see from their experiences that sometimes the parents happily entrust their children to be trained (Lilly Potter's parents, Hermione's parents, Jean Grey's Parents) while other parents can be hesitant or mistrustful and might choose not to let their child go with them (Harry's aunt & uncle, Iceman's parents).


See Richard's answer for a great Legends answer.

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According to the (alas, no longer strictly canon but still excellent) 'The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force' factbook, the answer is that it often did not go well, especially when the child was from the Outer Rim colonies or found on a planet in the Unexplored Regions.

In the footnotes, Dooku passes comment that this was one of the key reasons the Jedi were not mourned on many planets. Master Thane mentions an incident where the parents of a child used physical violence (pelting the recruiters with stones) in order to prevent their child being taken.

Locating Force-strong newborns is a straightforward process, at least within the Republic's borders. Mandatory blood tests performed at birth record the concentration of midi-chlorians in an infant’s cells, and positive results are forwarded to the Jedi Temple for follow-up.

The job of a Jedi Recruiter can be thankless. While many families are proud to have their offspring chosen by the Force, the practical reality of taking a child away from his or her parents is messy and unpleasant. We Jedi firmly believe that Force-strong beings have a right to receive the best training available, and our way requires shunning emotional commitment, especially toward one's birth family. Yet something that seems self-evident to us has been characterized as monstrous in the HoloNet. I admit that while we recruiters are vital to the continuation of the Order, we don't do much to burnish the Order's reputation.

The following are perennial slurs leveled against the Order. As a Jedi Knight you must do your part to counter these lies, not by arguing but by setting an example of selflessness and service.

The Jedi are kidnappers. An all too familiar accusation for Jedi Recruiters, this charge springs from the pain of emotional attachment. It is also technically false. Within the Republic, the Jedi Order has the legal authority to take custody of Force-sensitives, and some Masters have argued that the Force's presence in a child indicates the child's consent to join the Order even before he or she is able to speak.

The Jedi are brain washers. This belief is in part due to the secrecy surrounding Jedi training and in part due to a widespread misunderstanding of the so-called Jedi mind trick. Some claim that the Order is responsible for mass hypnosis and mind-control. Patently untrue.

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I would give many pluses if I could. That is creepy and kinda terrible... which makes it seem much more realistic than any other answer I can think of. Consent is being born with an ability, indeed - would they actually say to someone "if a kid didn't want to be a Jedi, they shouldn't have been born"? A legal authority doesn't make it moral, or ethical. Also, it's not brainwashing if somebody somewhere says 'patently untrue' (no proof required). – Megha Jan 9 at 12:01
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Australian child abduction from the natives. 'Nuff said. – Deer Hunter Jan 9 at 23:05
    
The story Children of the Force from Star Wars Tales #13 involved parents hiring a bounty hunter to get their child back from the Jedi Order. Some parents hated those "Jedi kidnappers". – Thunderforge Jan 10 at 4:45

First of all, let's not hold any illusions that this practice isn't problematic. While the Jedi never forced it on anyone, it was indeed institutionalised by the Galactic Republic, and on hindsight to historians it might have indeed been a controversial issue in the later years when the Order grew increasingly arrogant and dogmatic. The Galactic Empire did use this practice as an excuse to spreading hate on the Jedi and raise support for their extermination. Its original intent, however, was nonetheless noble and pure, and the galactic commonfolk are used to being supportive of it.

A little history and analysis may help lead you to the likely reasons for the lower than expected resistance to this practice (from the perspective of an Earthling). The Old Republic was engulfed in a war between Jedi and Sith when a branch of ancient Force practitioners discovered the dark side, eventually leading to the Old Republic's collapse.

The galaxy was liberated from that ancient war thanks to the Jedi, leading to the founding of the Galactic Republic. As the galaxy disarms itself after the war, the Jedi would also take the place of the military as the galaxy's peacekeepers. Being saviours of the galaxy, founders of the Republic, keepers of the peace and defenders of justice do wonders to your public appeal. When the novelty of being the saviours and founders wear away with time, it is replaced by the aura of being an ancient order, and a sense of rightness to sending your kids to them because "they've always been there, and we've been doing this since the time of our ancestors and founders".

But only Force sensitives can be a Jedi, and to prevent a repeat of history, prevailing Jedi beliefs prefer inducting into the Order Force sensitives who have not matured enough in life to form attachments (which eventually leads to the dark side - that's why they initially refused to train Anakin because he is too old). Since they are the Republic's main and most effective peacekeeping force, and this is the recommended way to maintaining their numbers, the Republic Senate would naturally want to support such a policy. This is probably what led to the institutionalisation of this practice of taking them young. Basic medical examinations within the Republic's borders would check midichlorian counts - anomalies are brought to the Jedi's attention, who will record these entries and visit the babies. The babies are first raised by their parents for a time, until early childhood when they are brought into the order to be formally trained. In Rebels, Kanan once mentioned not having seen his family for a long time - indicating he was old enough to remember them (although Force sensitives in general tend to mature faster mentally).

So that's probably how this practice started. But why did people accept it? One out of three reasons, depending who you are:

  1. You're poor. Sending your child to the Jedi reduces your own living expenses and gives your child a much better life than what you can ever give. The government may even give you good compensation for life too. Imagine if you're a peasant in North Korea and the government offers to support your family in exchange for taking your child because he has talent to be a good IT guy. Will you accept it? (This is a true story, North Korea pays well to keep their Internet running).
  2. You're rich, powerful and/or influential. The Jedi is the best thing in the galaxy short of being Supreme Chancellor. It raises your status!
  3. You come from a more primitive or more religious society. In such societies, Force-sensitives (before they knew what is the Force) tend to become spiritual leaders like shamans, witch doctors etc. Today, becoming a Jedi is just an upgrade of that. You're even more revered in your native society.

Basically, lots of people have good incentive to send their eligible kids to the Jedi. The only ones who don't are people who hate the Jedi, and that generally are enemies of the Republic. No matter how bad the Jedi Order is in its final years, this practice is still less infringing on sentient rights than, say, the First Order's stormtrooper program.

Note, the above is mainly my own analysis and not evidence-based. But nonetheless, I do think this is a satisfactory rationalisation of the reasons that lead to this practice being existent in a galactic civilisation where slavery is banned.

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Excellent answer! Helped me see how the Galactic people view the Jedi in different cultures/status/ect, answered my original question, and a few other things I'd been curious about. @thegreatjedi – Morgan Jan 9 at 7:10
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This is a great answer but: Where is this sourced from? – AncientSwordRage Jan 9 at 12:13
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Sorry, -1. It makes tons of broad claims that are absolutely not even remotely backed up by canon citations (and I know for sure that at least some of them DO have canon examples) – DVK-in-exile Jan 9 at 15:22
    
@AncientSwordRage Sorry, I don't get what you're referring to. Where is what forced from? – thegreatjedi Jan 9 at 21:10
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There is useful info here, but the answer boils down to those three reasons. Which are 100% speculation. – Kevin Jan 10 at 15:45

As far as I understand it, during the Old Republic Jedi were widely respected and revered. If a Jedi Master turned up on my door, I would be in more than a little awe. Also, for families struggling in the Outer Rim, then the potential prestige of having a child become a Jedi becomes a positive. Not to mention that they no longer have to try to feed and clothe them.

As a mother, I know it would tear my heart apart to have someone take my children away, but if I knew they could have a life where they are well cared for and have a life where they would be respected (far better than being say a moisture farmer!), then I would have to consider that strongly, assuming I had any say in the matter.

(I realise that this is possibly a speculative answer, but I'm not sure if there is any Disney canon that gives further insight.)

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Emotionally sensitive post... – Evil Angel Jan 9 at 6:26
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LOL. That's positive thing. So, good. – Evil Angel Jan 9 at 7:07
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@SS-3 I was wondering as it didn't seem to attract any votes (nor the accepted answer). Perhaps I spoke a little too close from the heart :) – Jane S Jan 9 at 7:10
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@janes no, you're answer was fine; I just can't give it any lil numbers (account won't let me); and the reason it wasn't the accepted answer (I guess that's what the check mark means- I'm new :) was because your answer had no evidence- but I still applaud your effort and would give you numbers if I could ;) – Morgan Jan 9 at 7:48
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@JaneS okay now the account let me give you a number :) – Morgan Jan 9 at 7:50

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