Everything I've seen references children that are detected as having a high midichlorian count being taken in and trained to be Jedi. I've been through a lot of Wookieepedia articles, but some articles are pages and pages long. Still, I haven't seen anything addressing children that don't want to be Jedi (or whose parents don't want their children to, either).

Are children (or their parents) given a choice about whether or not to enter Jedi training and become Jedi?

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    This question makes me think of how Psi-Corps handled telepaths in the Babylon 5 universe. – eidylon Mar 2 '12 at 21:52
  • The concept of Jedi's getting inducted as children is very similar to the Janissary's of the Ottoman Empire en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janissary which were children of non-Turkish Christian's who were essentially abducted and then trained up as prestigious warriors who had a fairly high class level despite the fact they were kind of slaves. The fact they were taken young helped ensure their loyalties were more easily guaranteed. – zipquincy Jul 29 '12 at 16:08

In general, the children are given to the Jedi Order by their parents as toddlers, well before they were mentally capable of giving or refusing consent. As they get older, there does seem to be some point after which they can leave if they want.

Regarding the young:

Because the Order was comprised of many different species that matured at different rates, the rank of Initiate was not given at a certain age, but when an individual reached the maturity to begin formal education at the academy. While still in infancy, the Jedi fosterers that oversaw the care of the babies would foresee where an individual belonged and would organize the soon-to-be-Initiates into clans. These clans stayed together day and night, learning, eating, and sleeping together from around the age of three standard years until they were chosen as a Padawan around adolescence.

So the Jedi cared for babies before they became initiates at 3.

And regarding leaving:

Following several unsuccessful attempts at the Initiate Trials or if a student is not chosen by a Master, the Council of Reconciliation would place the student within the Jedi Service Corps. Depending on where the student's talents lay, this might be the Agricultural Corps, the Medical Corps, the Educational Corps or the Exploration Corps. If this role did not suit a particular student, they could chosen to leave the Order entirely.

And we saw at least one adult leave the order (Dooku).

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  • Any chance you have more information on how they're offered a chance to leave? – Tango Mar 2 '12 at 18:46
  • @TangoOversway I don't think it's so much offered as the Order can't/doesn't stop them if they walk out. – Kevin Mar 2 '12 at 18:48
  • It should be noted that the Jedi weren't above placing an anonymous phone call to CPS, making outlandish accusations of abuse and neglect, only to be awarded temporary custody of the children once it got to Family Court. Their methods were extreme, true, but the noble ends justified the means. – John O Jul 29 '12 at 21:40

Anakin Skywalker was given a choice, though it wasn't extremely obvious due to the fact that both Qui-Gon and the viewers knew what his choice was WAY before he could be offered one.

On a practical level, the child who's forced into it against their choice would have such a major negative emotions that you're practically guaranteeing he'll turn to the Dark Side. NOT a very good idea to do that.

On another level, a violent action like that is against the Jedi Code. I doubt it would be condoned.

On yet another level, most parents - and kids - would have been totally thrilled to have such an opportunity. Your child goes to Coruscant, becomes a member of a very exclusive, very powerful and very elite order, which in the galaxy at large is largely seen as benevolent.

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    The premise of their recruiting method was to get them as young as possible. Anakin was about 9 (I think) and he was a very questionable recruit. Typical age was much younger. "Recruiting" toddlers makes the concept of parents and home a vague notion. Preventing the recruits from ever interacting with their previous home life virtually guarantees that the only idea of HOME is the Jedi. – erdiede Mar 2 '12 at 5:12

Before Order 66, if a potential student was discovered the Jedi would send a representative to the child's parents or guardians. They would discuss the role and go over the technical stuff, etc. Ultimately it was the parent's choice. As for the person themself, the Jedi Order was strictly voluntary. At any time a member could leave willingly, though few did.

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    Can't remember if I read it in a novel or what, but I've always had the impression giving your child to the Jedi was quite the honor. In that vein, I doubt few parents said no. – Michael Itzoe Sep 10 '12 at 18:06

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