We were living with a thief.
This thief stole our money. It stole our time. It stole our attention. It stole our innocence.
Our TV was a thief.
When we finally recognized its true nature, we knew we had to say goodbye to the TV. Easier said than done. After all, the TV was entertaining. And we occasionally used it for good. We watched educational programs. We watched Christian devotional DVDs. But we also watched programs that were neither educational nor uplifting. We used the TV to escape each other. Precious family time was spent in slack-jawed silence. The more we watched, our attention spans shrinked and our patience with each other diminished.
The weight of what was happening hit us hard when we realized our toddler could sing “Elmo’s World” but could not sing “Jesus Loves Me”.
There are many families that can happily co-exist with TV. We are not one of those families. We had tried various tricks and tips. We had turned off the satellite and cable access. We switched to Netflix and tried to be more selective about what we watched instead of mindless channel surfing. These are good ways to keep TV time in check. But we would slip, watch more and more, bend the guidelines for what we considered appropriate programs for our family.
We needed to stop toying with a thief.
We called a family meeting. We confessed our laziness as parents. We explained our TV had to go. The children were less than thrilled. We stood our ground as parents and sold our TV.
It’s been almost a month, living without the TV. We’ve played a lot of board games.
We’ve been reading.
And yes, we’ve been bored. It’s good to be bored. Our children are forced to find creative ways to entertain themselves. We’ve had interesting discussions with each other. We’ve worked to develop our individual God-given talents. We are artists, writers, and musicians. We don’t have time to idly sit on the couch staring at a noisy box of light.
We want to encourage you to take back your time. If you have satellite or cable, consider switching to Netflix or Hulu to better control your viewing options. Perhaps you can schedule one day each week to turn off the TV and have a family game night. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the TV in your home for a day, a week … or forever.