Socialization With the Borg

by Marquette Gass [Reprinted with permission]
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"I have found that my children are learning more poor behavior from children who attend formal institutionspublic and private, than from anywhere else."

I have found that my children are learning more poor behavior from children who attend formal institutions, both public and private, than from anywhere else. This has become even more clear to me in the past few months since moving to a gated community where we are surrounded by school kids. My daughter finally had girls her own age to play with. I was so glad... for about ten minutes. My daughter's encounter with these children came right out of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the crew of the Enterprise encounter the Borg.

The Borg are aliens who survive and spread by assimilating other beings into their computer-enhanced, cybernetic collective, essentially turning their victims into drones, incapable of free and independent thought. Because they work as a single unit, they are unstoppable. As they put it, "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Several months ago I sent my beautiful 8-year old daughter out to play, and straight into the hands of The Borg. They had me fooled, of course. There were no cybernetic attachments, no wires or sockets. They appeared to be free and fun-loving. Then the assimilation began.

This particular collective operates in the central play quadrant known here as The Tot Lot. Frequented by young toddlers and parents during the day, by the late afternoon it is overrun by Borg, released from their institutional cubes to work for the good of the collective. To this end, they began to assimilate my daughter. One boy would hit her repeatedly in the arms. When my son would intervene on her behalf, the boy Borg would sling insults at him. The "N" word and one beginning with "F" were common verbal features. To the other young people in attendance, usually more than a dozen, this was acceptable, being as they had already been assimilated.

"Thinking is non-essential; the collective will think for you. Wear the right clothes, the right makeup, and above all else be thin."

During my daughter's play times with just the girls, pretty young Borgs are they, she was indoctrinated in the central girl-Borg belief that looks are everything and all girls should look the same. Thinking is non-essential; the collective will think for you. Wear the right clothes, the right makeup, and above all else be thin. The girls would force themselves to exercise around The Tot Lot, even in 100 degree heat. My daughter began to fall in line, even limiting her eating to be more like her new Borg sisters. I caught on when I realized my daughter was not finishing her food at dinner time. I quickly stepped in with logic and facts to stem the eating disorder I envisioned looming in her future. I have since found out that one of the older Borg girls was admitted to a hospital to address her severe weight loss. This and my intervention have led my daughter to return to eating normally and she has accepted the foolishness of under-eating and over-exercise. We appear to have won that battle.

"Poor attitude and rudeness is the next avenue of assimilation."

The war goes on. Poor attitude and rudeness is the next avenue of assimilation. Don't listen to your parents. Break all the rules, when you can. Is an adult talking? Then tune her out. Several of the Borg girls have the bad and annoying habit of barging right into my home without permission, sometimes without knocking. One day while my daughter was studying, my husband literally had to block the door with his leg to keep them at bay. My daughter has not become as bad as this. Fortunately, she still has an independent streak of kindness and consideration, but occasionally I see little cracks. At a recent homeschool conference she was less than her kind self when meeting an online acquaintance of mine, but in thinking about it later, she realized how she had acted and was regretful, so I know the Borg have not won. But they keep trying.

Fortunately for us, the Borg are now returning to their daily routines at their institutional cubes. The summer is waning into autumn, leaving less daylight time for their assimilation activities. My daughter is more like her former self. But we are not complacent. There are weekends, holidays, and other non-instruction days ahead. My daughter is strong, but she now realizes she must be stronger. The Borg will come again.