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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

STAR TREK -- Raising a Family of Trekkies (or "And You Thought This Blog Was About Cancer")

When I was a kid, my mother used to watch Star Trek. One night, when I was supposed to be in bed, I snuck downstairs and secretly watched an episode. It was about kids who die when they get older; it was really scary. (When I told Moshe about it, he named the episode, "Miri.") I decided that I did not like Star Trek and did not want to watch it again.


When I was pregnant with our first child, we bought a TV and VCR (You remember VCRs, don't you? They played video tapes.....)

Anyway, at the time, "Next Generation" was showing on TV, two afternoons a week. When my daughter was born, and I was on maternity leave (which I extended for several years), Moshe would call to make sure that the videotape was set to record.

Eventually, I realized that if I had to be there anyway to set the tape, then I might as well watch the show. I considered the experience an "investment" in my marriage. After all, if my husband was so into Star Trek, I might as well become familiar with it.

Now, don't get the wrong idea. It is not as if I did not like science fiction. I did; I just did not like Star Trek. Though I am not as serious a sci fi fan as my husband, when I was in high school, I read plenty of Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. My favorite short story of all time is A Sound of Thunder. (you can read the story online here)

At first, I was not very impressed with Next Generation. But, as time went on, and I also started watching Deep Space Nine, I started getting more into the Star Trek thing.

Somewhere along the way, Moshe and I started watching Babylon Five (B5) together (this is another story in itself). I spent several years arguing that B5 was far superior to Star Trek. At first, Moshe considered that apicorsus (heretical). After all, Star Trek is like the Bible! Eventually, Moshe conceded the point, though he still considered Star Trek kodesh (holy).

What is undeniable is that B5 influenced Star Trek -- B5 showed that audiences will appreciate and follow an arch story, even over several seasons; by proving that a series can develop more than just self-contained individual story plots, B5 fundamentally changed the standard of TV sci fi. As a direct result, Deep Space Nine developed a sophisticated arch story that took that series to a whole new level.

JUMP AHEAD a few more years....

Moshe started "disappearing" on Saturday nights. If the kids were not in bed on time, he would just leave them on their own for an hour. After a while, I discovered that Moshe was going into our room to watch Enterprise!

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Right?

So, I started watching with him.

Even with the two of us getting the kids to bed, we did not always succeed in getting everyone ready before the episode began.

With the two of us engrossed in the show, our kids would stand in the doorway and watch as well. Eventually, we gave up all pretenses of trying to get them to bed once the show started and Saturday nights became, unofficially, Star Trek night.

I think that must be what planted the seeds for what was to become our official Star Trek night.

A year or so ago, Moshe suggested that we watch, as a family, every single Star Trek episode, chronologically.

On the one hand, I thought it was a completely geeky idea. On the other hand, I thought it might be nice to have a regular family activity. I would have chosen a different genre, but I was not going to organize it. This was Moshe's idea, and he made it happen.

At first, the kids were only moderately into it.

Since we did not really watch TV much, and we barely let the kids watch at all, they were happy to watch anything, even if it was not their first choice.

Eventually, they got into it too!

The brilliance of it is that Moshe made a deal with the kids: we only watch Star Trek if they are ready for bed on time. Saturday nights were the most difficult nights of our week. Now the kids come straight home after their Shabbat, eat supper right away and get ready for bed quickly.

I started teasing Moshe that he was/we are raising a family of geeks!

But I have to give credit where credit is due. Star Trek night is the best thing we do as a family.

Together, we curl up, under blankets (even in the summer), to watch and analyze that week's episode.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

have you seen the new movie, i am not a treki but i injoyed it very much.

rutimizrachi said...

(smiles) Watching your family develop in these pages is one of my favorite entertainments. You have created and nurtured a warm family full of individuals, who understand compromise and finding fun together. "An accomplished woman -- who can find?" Just check out Chez RivkA.

Robin said...

I never got into Star Trek, but I will admit to being a big B5 fan - now that's good stuff :).

rickismom said...

Glad you have something besides cancer to write about! After all,it would be a big bore if it was ONLY about cancer!

Anonymous said...

But how was the movie? (Did you make it there?)


JoeSettler said...

A good story. I remember reading it as a kid. But your favorite?

Cheryl Pitt said...

I think that's a wonderful tradition! Your kids will look back on this time with joy for the rest of their lives--no matter how geeky it may seem ;)