Tuesday, December 21, 2010

T.V Or Not T.V?

That is the question...

Approximately one year ago my husband and I decided that we should cancel our 'Sky' (cable) subscription, simply because we felt it was an unnecessary expense for our family.  We knew of families who informed us that they would not be having any more children (at just two) because they couldn't 'afford' any more...though they paid €60.00 per month to watch 'Sky' television! Getting back to where I was; we never did cancel it fully but we changed for a subscription that costs us €10.00 per month.  This means that we still are able to view the news and documentary channels.

When I was growing up we very often ate our evening meal from our laps in front of the television watching Australian soap operas (that are still showing today...they have just upped the filth factor!)  Our family would watch one show after another, after another.  This was our 'relax' time as I understood it.  So is it any wonder then as an adult that I chose to spend my relax time after work (before I was married) in front of the television; watching one show, then another, then another?

My husbands family on the other hand did not own a television set for many years as they were not yet a common item to have within the home.  His father did buy one from somewhere and introduced it to their family home.  At this time there were only one or two shows aired per day, in the evening time...however it was not long before my wise father-in-law began to realise that his children were becoming idle and lazy whilst watching the 'box'.  Did he correct them and give consequences?  No he simply got rid of the television; clean and simple!

The result of our differing childhood exposure to television has led Brian to a life of productivity and a disdain for most television use; whilst I have had to 'wean' myself from watching it for hours on end and also certain programmes.  This has been very difficult for me.  Mine and Brian's relationship has strengthened as we spend most of our evenings talking around the kitchen fireside, enjoying true quality time!

The Television - A Poem by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we've learned, 
So far as children are concerned, 
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let 
Them near your television set --

Or better still, just don't install 
The idiotic thing at all. 
In almost every house we've been, 
We've watched them gaping at the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about, 
And stare until their eyes pop out. 
(Last week in someones place we saw 
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)

They sit and stare and stare and sit 
Until they're hypnotised by it, 
Until they're absolutely drunk 
With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still, 
They don't climb out the window sill, 
They never fight or kick or punch, 
They leave you free to cook the lunch

And wash the dishes in the sink -- 
But did you ever stop to think, 
To wonder just exactly what 
This does to your beloved tot?



'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say, 
'But if we take the set away, 
What shall we do to entertain 
Our darling children? Please explain!'

We'll answer this by asking you, 
'What used the darling ones to do? 
'How used they keep themselves contented 
Before this monster was invented?'

Have you forgotten? Don't you know? 
We'll say it very loud and slow: 
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ, 
AND READ and READ, and then proceed

To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! 
One half their lives was reading books! 
The nursery shelves held books galore! 
Books cluttered up the nursery floor! 
And in the bedroom, by the bed, 
More books were waiting to be read! 
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales 
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales

And treasure isles, and distant shores 
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars, 
And pirates wearing purple pants, 
And sailing ships and elephants,

And cannibals crouching 'round the pot, 
Stirring away at something hot. 
(It smells so good, what can it be? 
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)

The younger ones had Beatrix Potter 
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter, 
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, 
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-

Just How The Camel Got His Hump, 
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump, 
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul, 
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-

Oh, books, what books they used to know, 
Those children living long ago! 
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, 
Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install 
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. 
Then fill the shelves with lots of books, 
Ignoring all the dirty looks,

The screams and yells, the bites and kicks, 
And children hitting you with sticks- 
Fear not, because we promise you 
That, in about a week or two 
Of having nothing else to do,

They'll now begin to feel the need 
Of having something to read. 
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy! 
You watch the slowly growing joy

That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen 
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen 
In that ridiculous machine, 
That nauseating, foul, unclean, 
Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid 
Will love you more for what you did.

You want to know the scariest thing about that poem?...Its true! As I've said before our family are not in the business of judging others; however we must admit that watching television is obviously not the most productive activity for either parent or children. I have compiled the following list to suggest other pastimes or activities that could substitute television watching or video-game playing; however please note that I have not done this to sound patronizing or to make myself sound superior...rather simply because I recognise that when an pastime becomes the norm within a home setting, it can most certainly become difficult to think 'outside of the box' and creatively come up with another activity.

25 Alternatives To Television Watching:

  1. Try out a new dinner recipe and allow your children to help.
  2. Allow your children to pick a short story each and read aloud to them.
  3. Read your Bible.
  4. Play a board game with your children.  Even older ones love this!
  5. Compose and send a handwritten letter to someone special.  Children can write to far flung cousins.
  6. Work on an existing craft project.
  7. Run your husband a nice bath once the children are sleeping.
  8. Work on Bible memory with your children.
  9. Write an encouraging note to your husband and hide it in his lunchbag or in his workshirt pocket!
  10. Do some gardening.
  11. Go to the library and check out as many interesting books as you can...and read them!
  12. Teach your children a new craft such as: knitting, crochet, felting, sewing...etc...
  13. Bake something delicious with your children.  (And let them lick the spoons afterward!)
  14. Talk with your husband.
  15. Learn a new skill.
  16. Research an important family topic, such as: health care, education, nutrition...etc...
  17. Begin to learn a new language.
  18. Simply get out the crayons and books and colour pictures with your children.
  19. Play 'hide and seek' in the house!
  20. Clean out your car (Really should take my own advice here!)
  21. Begin a filing system for all your incoming mail.  Even a lever arch file with coloured dividers is great!
  22. Deep clean and organize one specific room.  Be ruthless!
  23. Go for a family walk.  Taking note and discussing nature with your children as you walk.
  24. Give your children jam jars and tell them to go find some insects to collect and study for a day or so.
  25. Do that chore that you have been putting off doing!
I hope that there are a few good ideas there that may be of help to some of you hoping to introduce more productive time into your familys day.  Making changes such as these when you are already in the habit, is difficult as we all well know.  However it can be done; take the time to pray about it and see what areas of your life is the Lord prompting you to address.  Then do something about it! 


Chelle said...

Thank you for your post. We do not have a T.V. that is hooked up. We have one only for DVD or V. We used to have cable, but decided it wasn't a nessity for us. It has saved us 90.00 a month. I do miss it sometimes though. We are very careful what we allow our children to watch. We watch all movies before they are allowed to. Also we have bought box sets of differnt shows that have played in the past. My favorites are The Waltons and Little House on the prarie. Most of the modern ones aren't fit to watch. We do not judge others who have T.V. Its just what we felt we should do for our family. Hope you have a nice Christmas. Have you had your baby yet? I didn't have a T.V. when I was growing up. My husband s family did though.

Erin said...

I really liked this post. I was in the same position as you in that t.v. was prevalent in my home growing up. And that I thought of it, even now, as a way to relax. But over the last 4 years we have been weaning ourselves off of t.v. and turned more to watching videos. Then once overseas, we didn't get any t.v. so as not to get hooked on any European shows. Since we've been back I'd say I fell off the wagon so to speak while John was gone. But just this week I canceled our cable so that we only get basic channels. We're going to use the money we saved to give more to the organizations we give to on a regular basis.

Sarah said...

Erin, it is so great to hear from you! What a great idea also to donate the extra money you will be saving to charitable organizations. I have never thought of that before...we usually donate in one off payments. What a wonderful example for your children also! I hope you are all well.

Aritha Vermeulen said...

Thanks! What an interesting post. We have no TV. But the children very often watch a DVD. Thank you for the suggestions. I think I pick a few out to do, instead of sitting behind the computer. (sorry for my school englisch - I come from Holland)

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Many people think we're crazy because we don't have TV. I didn't grow up with it and when I'm around our families' tv's I'm shocked by what is shown. So glad my hubby was on board with no TV when when we got married. People wonder how we get so much done, it is because we don't have TV!

Praying your labor and delivery goes well!

Sarah said...

Aritha - Thank you so much for your comment! I am also so pleased that you found the list of TV alternatives helpful, I was hoping that it would be of some help to someone. It is so nice also to have a like-minded lady from Holland join my blog; as my family originally came from from Holland a few generations ago! At present I am aware that we have some relatives living in Den Helder.

Jackie - As you said yourself; not growing up having a television in your home and not having one in your home now has enabled you to be a more productive adult...a blessing that you are now passing on to your children! Thank you so much for your prayers also!