T.V. is something that baffles me. I don't have the energy to keep cleaning, so I sit down for some t.v. and think it's going to somehow energize me or allow me a bit of rest. I feel irritated at the kids and in frustration allow them to go turn on the tube and I do the same--so we can both cool our tempers a bit. I begin a great show that grabs my interest, and by mid-season, I'm actually mad if someone talks to me over them, as if they're interrupting a real person. Confessions aside, t.v. has a baffling hold on many people, including me.
I think if we could back up and see it for what it really is, we'd be amused at the time we spend around it, and maybe even angry. It's a box...that tells really interesting stories...and flashes pretty lights...and about once or twice a year gives us a public announcement that we needed to hear...and sometimes we all get together and sit around it, giving a loud grunt ever-so-often.
And somehow we can't understand why in the world the Israelites who escaped Egypt would ever haul around that big 'ol golden calf, when all it did was...ignite elaborate stories of what happened to someone somewhere sometime...sparkle in the sun so pretty...be the centerpiece to important tribe meetings once in a while...and sometimes big groups of people would gather around it and expel loud noises ever-so-often. Hmm.
Many of you are going to argue and then I'm going to agree, that some tv is useful and fine. You're right. God was the one who told the Israelites to plunder their Egyptian neighbors before leaving Egypt. The gold itself wasn't bad. Later they could have bought land or goods, but instead they ended up drinking it. Gods are not gods because of the material they are made from or what shape they are made into. They are gods because of the hold they have on our heart.
This is hard for me to write because I know I'm not preaching, but confessing.
So, how can you tell if t.v. has become a god in your life? or your kids' lives?
First of all, like I said before, it's a heart issue. I think prayer is needed to discern where our heart is because like the Word says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick; who can understand it?" -Jeremiah 17: 9. And it also says to "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." -Proverbs 4: 23. Don't just assume your heart is right without searching it out, even if you are a Christian. I know I am prone to wonder away from the right path and so I think many others are too. Let's take the time to find out.
Here are some questions to get you started in searching your own heart, but please don't take them as the end-all of questions. Add to them in the comments. Ask other people in your life. Search your own heart and your children's.
- When a person you love interrupts your attention on the t.v., how does it make you feel?
- If there was no way to record or otherwise hold to another time a regular show/sport/program on t.v., and a family member's favorite show was at the exact same time, would you gladly share, trading off from day to day who gets to watch?
- Are you impatient when an important news report happens in the middle of your program?
- If a major electrical outage, such as a huge storm, happened during the season finally of a favorite show, and you did not have a way to find it later, would this give you a surge of anxiety?
- When you're desperate for rest, where do you go?
- You're schedule just filled up for the next two weeks and you only have 30 minutes before you go to bed that you could possibly spend with God in prayer or reading. Which do you choose: It's only two weeks, I'll get back to my bible after it settles down. OR It's only two weeks, I'll get back to my program after it settles down.
- Would you show upset feelings more if your children tossed a shoe and it broke the t.v. or if it hit and broke the window that cost the same to replace?
- Can you imagine being brave enough to put all your televisions in Goodwill and live without them forever?
What about your children?
- Do your children know more about their favorite character on t.v. or their very best friend?
- If you told your children you were going to turn off the t.v. for a month, would they cry and plead?
- If your child loves to read, do they still chose the book they're in the middle of reading if you call and say a shows starting?
- It's amazing weather outside and you tell them they have a choice. They can watch t.v. all day or you can take them to their favorite outdoor spot. Which do they chose?
- Your child has 30 minutes before school starts. You've fixed their favorite all-time breakfast but it has to be consumed in a different room then the t.v. What is their reaction?
- It's time to watch their favorite show and it's just not working. Do they quickly forget or is it a tragedy?
- Their best friend calls and wants to play. How quickly do they turn off the t.v.?
- Their favorite Aunt, Uncle, Cousin is in town for only one day, but the mascot to their favorite t.v. show is going to be at Barnes and Noble the same day. If they had a choice in the matter, what would they chose? And how hard of a decision would it be?
Time To Unplug!
In January, I'm breaking this stronghold that's over me and my children! We're literally unplugging the main television and allowing only the use of Wii Fit and 2 hours/week of video games on the other. I'll also be praying all month about what to do beyond January.
- Physically unplug any t.v. that isn't being used for anything other than viewing.
- Make a family commitment to stop watching all t.v. shows, movies, programs, YouTube, sports, and news for a full month.
- Reduce screen time other than t.v. to 3 hours or less per week (video games, computer games, Internet browsing, or anything else that could merely shift your attention from one screen to another).
- Don't purposefully view television while out of the house--such as televisions playing at restaurants or friends and family who leave them on while you are there. Keep your attention elsewhere and don't go these places as an excuse to watch.
I expect that this is going to be hard and I would love to know that there's other moms/families out there doing the same thing. Please give me a holler in the comments if you have decided to do the same or similar. I would love to hear from you. And I would also welcome anyone who wants to pray for us during this time, as well.
I'll be journaling:
If you would like to join in or just observe, please subscribe to my blog. I'll be journaling about this personal commitment through the month of January.
Do You Want To Join Us? Here's how:
- Comment below and just let us know that you've made the commitment.
- Pin the "button" (although it's not a link here, so please make sure your pin links) to pinterest if you have an account.
- Link to this page from your facebook account, if you have one.
- Make your commitment public by either telling friends and family or by writing a blog post and linking to it below so we can all find you. Be sure to link back here in your post so that others can find us and join in, too.
- And remember that this is not like joining a club! The last four are not requirements, but only requests so that people can stay accountable and not feel alone in this. If you would rather do this privately--there's no one stopping you! And...you won't hurt my feelings.
Linking Up to these amazing blogs:
A Bowl Full of Lemons
A Bowl Full of Lemons