Monday, July 18, 2016

The Final Frontier

A few years ago, I had the chance to meet William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk). During an interview session with fans, one of the participants asked him what his favorite Star Trek movie was. His response surprised the crowd when he answered "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". Now for those of you who may not be Trekkies, Star Trek V is universally considered one of the worst of the franchise's films. While there are many of moments of the film that I enjoy, the story line is shaky at best and it meanders its way through a search for paradise and an encounter with "God". The movie was panned by critics and they were especially hard on William Shatner who directed the film. So you can understand why we were surprised to hear him list this as his favorite of the films.

He expanded on his answer to the crowd by saying it was the film that he learned the most from. He had envisioned a story that would wrestle with the themes of life and death, heaven and hell, God and the devil. Bit by bit, the producers, the studio, and others chipped away at his ideas and some of his edgier themes and watered things down until at last the final product was a mediocre, middle of the road "adventure'. Shatner explained that he had conceded so much that in the end he hardly recognized his own product and in pleasing everyone he had produced a flop that pleased no one. In short, he learned from his failure and grew from the experience. He may not have known it, by the iconic Captain Kirk actor was demonstrating a growth mindset!

As educators, we receive many different "demands" in our profession. The pressure to cover curriculum, the obligation to perform ongoing assessments for our students, the restrictions we have due to budget. However, we need to hold true to our convictions of putting kids first! We need to remember that each child is unique, that each lesson is a means to spark curiosity, and each day is a chance to change a student's life. Let's take a lesson from William Shatner and remember to hold true to our vision and not compromise with our students. Continue to do what's best for kids and help them hold on to their dreams!
Me and the Big Guy! 

PEARLS OF WISDOM (From Captain Kirk)

"One of the advantages of being a captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.

"A little suffering is good for the soul."

"I don't believe in a no-win scenario." 

Original Trailer for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier 


  1. Love this story Jon and the many lessons we can learn from it! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Wow, it's cool that you got to meet Shatner and that you got a picture! Your post shares a good lesson to remember. "...watered things down until at last the final product was a mediocre." Mediocre isn't cutting it. Thanks for a good read!

  3. What an important lesson! I love your last sentence the most! "Continue to do what's best for kids and help them hold on to their dreams!" That's what it's all about!! :)