Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hope For the Next Generation

I’ve always been a fan of the Star Trek franchise.  Creator Gene Roddenberry took science fiction from fighting aliens to a closer look at our frail human nature.  Star Trek Next Generation took the series to a higher level of moral issues.  Whether Kirk or Picard, Janeway or Archer:   the Captain of a Federation Starship always tried to do be honorable as he (or she) represented the human race. 

Sounds rather hokey, doesn’t it?  Almost cheesy.   But in fact, the whole premise of the series was almost Biblical – you know that stuff about “do unto others, love thy neighbors, don’t covet, and don’t lie.”  But somehow over the years our moral compass has become misdirected.   We often fail to respect, lies become acceptable if they’re little ones, we covet, we fight with neighbors over trivial matters, and don’t even start with “thou shall not kill.”

But recently, I saw a glint of sunshine.  Two days ago, my daughter called me quite upset over an event she had witnessed.  To protect her privacy, I'll call her Annie.  Annie is in her final year of Veterinarian College.   She has worked two, even three jobs at a time, studied endlessly, and persevered after every setback and never surrendered her dream.  With her boards passed, and graduation in May, Annie is within arm’s reach of her degree and license to practice.  Yet, she put it all on the line this week, because she was compelled to do the right thing.  Annie witnessed another Veterinarian lie to a pet owner.  A medical mistake was made and as a result, the pet was lost.  Morally, and by oath, the Doctor is responsible for telling the pet owner the truth.  He chose to create a plausible excuse for the death.

My daughter was so troubled she went to her school advisor to report the event.  Her goal wasn’t to get the Vet in trouble, but for the school to evaluate the clinic’s role in the curriculum for future students.  Annie took the high ground for all the right reasons.  I am exceptionally proud of her.

Now, in an unrelated incident, yesterday, while driving to work, I was involved in a minor fender bender.  A young lady bumped into my car while I was stopped at a traffic light.  She couldn’t have been moving more than 5 miles an hour and could easily have stayed in her car to see if I would respond.  Instead, this young lady immediately came to my car to see if I was alright.  We moved our vehicles out the traffic lane and exchanged information.  This young lady, her name is Callie, accepted her responsibility and did the right thing.  Callie is about my daughter’s age and recently completed her Law Degree.  Callie took an oath, chose to honor her words and I’ll bet her dad is exceptionally proud of her, too. 

If either of these young ladies ever watched an episode of Star Trek, it was a rerun sitting on their dad’s lap.  I can’t speak for Callie, but I’m pretty sure my daughter hasn’t had much time for reading the Bible.  But both young ladies honored those commandments – which so many feel are “optional” and not required. 

That gives me hope for the Next Generation.  And best yet, if they continue on their journey, someday they may become the Captain of their own Starship and represent the best of the human race.