I suppose I’m a late bloomer, as Trekkies go. I came to it in my late 30s, and only because our family was about to go through a rough transition and my husband suggested we find a TV show we could watch together to help us through the coming months-him, me, and our then-8-year-old-daughter. Star Trek. I may have rolled my eyes just a little.
That brief, rough transition turned into two years of some of the toughest times I hope our family ever has. Within the past few weeks we’ve started coming out of that, at the exact time we finished the last episode of Star Trek- all the Star Treks. In two years, we watched all five television series and all ten original films. I beg you not to do the math on this: suffice it to say, it’s a lot of screen time. But there were many evenings when all we could do was huddle together, admiring Captain Picard’s command in moments when we felt we had no command of our own situation. Or discuss Vulcan abilities to manage emotions when we felt our own emotions threatening to overtake us.
As our daughter grew over these two years and as world events happened around her, this evening escapism unexpectedly turned parenting tool. Star Trek gave us fictional scenarios that paralleled what was happening in our society. We paused shows nearly every night to discuss the difficult topics of racism; sexism; immigration; when it’s appropriate to get involved in another culture’s conflicts; and, obviously, Tribbles. Okay, not every episode applied.
And so, I find myself sad that Star Trek has ended for us, and I understand the love others have had for it for 50 years. It gave our daughter, and her parents, a new set of tools and language to use as she moves through life. It showed a world better than our own, where differences are applauded and there’s no situation Kirk can’t get out of. It was a rope to cling to in one long, dark moment, but it also became a ladder to climb up. I believe, for us, it will continue to be a life saver when each of us needs it.
With a perspective, I’m Summer Batte.
Summer Batte is a senior editor at the Stanford Alumni Association. She and her family live in Alameda.