The thing I loved most about Spock on Star Trek is that, occasionally, his human side would show through. He was that logical being with no emotion for most of the series; but as the movies came out, we saw a side of Spock rarely, if ever, seen on tv.
Growing up, I was an extremely emotional kid who saw my sensitivity as a weakness. In school, the other kids called me “the smart kid.” My ability to be (seemingly) logical saved me many times from breaking down in front of other kids or teachers. Every once in a while, it would still happen, but I learned to keep those emotions in check for the most part. Spock was my model. Stay logical.
Over time, Spock’s character explored more of his human half. As I watched the movies, especially the ones where they spent time on the friendship between Kirk and Spock, I noticed how much wiser and “complete” Spock seemed. He was happier, even when his emotions caused him distress.
For so many years, I hid the part of me that feels too much. Sometimes, the world is a very overwhelming place when you allow yourself to feel.
But Spock seemed better when he allowed himself to feel, even though he was often ostracized by the other Vulcans because of it.
As a new teacher, I learned to distance myself from my students and show that tough, outer shell. That’s how I was taught to do it in my education methods courses. “Don’t let them see you be human.”
Is there worse advice for a teacher?
(Do you ever feel like you’ve “grown up” long after you’re considered a grown up?)
As a more experienced teacher, I now know I’m better when I show how I feel and allow that human-ness to shine through. I feel wiser. More complete. Just like the older Spock.
I don’t know how much actual influence Leonard Nimoy had on the evolution of his character, but I read somewhere that he wanted a chance for Spock to be able to explore his human side. I’m grateful for that, because somewhere along the way, Spock showed me the way. The scene where Spock dies in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was sad and serene for me at the same time.
Leonard Nimoy was a very interesting person, and the more I read about him post-Star Trek, the more I appreciated his intellect and humanity. While many actors tend to rebel against their “defining” roles, he came to embrace Spock more and more, especially recently with the retooled Star Trek movies and his guest stints on Big Bang Theory. I’m grateful for the man as well as the character he cultivated.
Live long and prosper, indeed.