Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why We Do Not Watch TV

Over the past two months, as parents, we have spent a great deal of time reexamining some of our parental standards, beliefs, and rules. When we jumped from having two preschoolers in the house to three preschoolers and one eleven year old, an adjustment and reexamination period was inevitable.  

As I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to spend a good deal of time observing: myself (as objectively as possible), our family environment, and the overall environment and society.  It is kind of like a hobby, but with a very distinct goal: to be the best mother possible while staying true to and aligned with our Christian faith.  This sounds a lot easier than it actually is because we live in a society that that is constantly bombarding us with contradictory messages.  (Take for example an article in a magazine that talks about ways to develop a positive self image in young girls.  However, the photo/advertisement on the very next page portrays a smiling, long and lean model with attributes very few young girls are born with.) 

When it comes to television, I believe those contradictions increase exponentially.  Now, all sorts of messages are being sent across the screen (via smiling actors and actresses) that contradict family values, moral standards, and the very essence of day to day life.  What you are viewing is supposed to portray happiness and fulfillment; however, you will almost inevitably walk away from the viewing feeling anything but happy or fulfilled.  Then, insert the perfectly matched commercials and you walk away not only feeling empty and unfulfilled but also with a list of products and services that will certainly help you fill that void.  Does this happen by chance?  Of course not!  The marketing geniuses know what they are doing.  Even if you do not watch commercials, the smut that fills practically all shows on television is hardly ever value added and I personally believe is almost always as odds with how Jesus would want me to spending my time.  I do not wish to be passively fed when Jesus was THE model of active living. 

With all that being said, I do believe film has a place in the sphere of entertainment options.  However, it is just one of many options and even after being tested by our eleven year old (who was almost certainly told that America is the land of endless TV and cake), we are taking the hard and firm when it comes to television viewing.  In our home, we allow no more than one hour of television, video games, any other passive electronic entertainment per day for our eleven year old.  (The preschoolers are only allowed thirty minutes.) Some days, we allow none at all.  Neither my husband or I have watched television in many years and it is not something we miss or even consider as an option for our time together.  It may sound strange, but I believe it makes us happier with ourselves, our marriage, our family, and our relationship with God.  

On a final note, I have witnessed the beauty of boring our kids into being creative and am a huge proponent!  People always say that box is a bigger hit than the toy in it, but do they really believe it?  I do and I believe that if there was not so many contradictory messages being fed through the various media outlets, it would be easier to see, hear, and feel the truth.  
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