Laura & I recently started watching the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix. It’s the first time we’ve seen some of these episodes in years, and my inner nerd was pleased to find that they’re better than I remembered (although not nearly as good as the show became in later seasons).
Last night I was thinking about Captains Kirk and Picard, and the fact that they were both so well-suited to sit in the captain’s chair. If you’re a Star Trek fan like me you’ll recall that Kirk had been promoted to Admiral by the time the first movie came out, only to eventually wind up being demoted back to Captain a few movies later as a “punishment” for spectacularly breaking the rules in order to save humanity from itself (again). Naturally he was thrilled because, as Spock put it so well in Wrath of Khan, “Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material.”
Not everyone can or should sit at the top of the chain of command. Not everyone should have responsibility for logistics or long-term planning. Some people just need to be out exploring. Some people come to life when they have a mission and the inner drive to fulfill it. Some people are just meant to be captains.