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Lent is over and the TV is back

Easter has come and gone, and along with it went Lent.  This means that we can watch TV again.    I thought that giving up television would be very difficult and that I would be bored each night.  At the beginning, I was quite bored.  I would just sit on the couch and wonder what I should do next.  After a few weeks I got used to it and began to enjoy it.  Instead of watching television and drinking a margarita while eating popcorn, I began to read and drink a glass of wine. (my drinking actually declined quite a bit during this experiment….not that I drank all that much to begin with).  First, I finally finished the book “The Paris Wife”.  I had started reading it a few months ago and could never find the time nor the energy to read it.  I finally finished reading it (although I did skip the last twenty pages or so and jumped straight into the Epilogue…it was about Hemingway…I already knew how he ended up.)  Then my friend, Sidney, gave me the first two Hunger Games books.  I read both of them in less than two weeks and am now reading the third one.  They are an easy read, enjoyable and page turners….the perfect recipe for night time reading.  I have been so obsessed with these books that I haven’t written a blog post for over a week!

After Easter I tried to watch TV one night, but was not interested at all.  I turned on Netflix, picked a show that I usually enjoy (Everything is Sunny in Philadelphia), watched less than five minutes, and then shut it off.  I was truly not interested in watching TV.  I picked up my book instead.  They say that it takes two weeks to create a new habit.  For me it took a few more weeks than that, but once I found what I enjoyed the transition was easy to make.

Now, this has not been the same wonderful experience for the kids, especially Wilson.  Wilson loves his TV.  He has been counting down the days since we started this TV fast.  He got to watch a show or two at my mom’s house each week, but for him it wasn’t enough.  We decided to have a movie-night on Easter Sunday evening to kick of the new TV watching.  Weeks ago, the kids had picked out the movie that they wanted to watch:  Tinkerbell’s “Fairies and Pirates” movie. We had popcorn and a carpet picnic during the movie….I didn’t even have to cook dinner!

Unfortunately, Wilson is now asking to watch television all of the time!!  It is driving me nuts!  We made the rule that they get to watch television on Saturday mornings and one movie night per week.  Wilson still begs for it all the time.  He did wear me down the other day while I was cooking dinner.  Everyone was being very whiny and annoying and it was difficult for me to do anything in the kitchen.  i decided that they could watch one show.  Sometimes, the TV is a great babysitter and a great distraction. One show can reset everyone’s attitude for the rest of the night.  I am hoping to stick to my guns most other days.  i am sure Wilson will quit asking after a while….I hope.

I never thought that I could live without watching a little bit of tv each night, even though I knew that there was nothing morally uplifting on it.  Some one once said that we should gauge what we watch through the eyes of Jesus….would we watch it if He were sitting next to us on the couch?  I have to admit that most of the shows that we watch are full of adultery, sexual immorality, murder, profane language, and a host of other unbecoming behaviors….and we don’t even watch the worst of the worst.  I felt that we were watching some of the better shows, but deep down knew that we weren’t.   I guess I will have to stick to Survivor for now, until I can find something that is morally uplifting.

Overall, this was a fabulous was to break old habits and start new ones.  Sometimes it is best to shock the system in order to change things for the better.  We all detoxed from television over the past six weeks.  It was the best thing that our family could have done at the time.  We played games, stayed outside longer, had more dance parties, played Monster, slept more, and read more books.  I would do it again in a heart beat.


Two weeks with no TV

We have been without television for exactly two weeks. It is the best decision that we have made in a long time. Within two days of the tv going off, the kids stopped asking for it. Their imaginations have been used so much more. That Saturday they put on a parade and a show for us. The mornings flow smoother and there is less crying now that the tv isn’t on. At night, instead of having movie night the kids play Monster with Tom or go to bed earlier. It has truly made the house calmer and quieter.

As for Tom and I, we miss the tv more than the kids. We really like our night time routine of vegging out in front of the TV. Although I miss it, it has been great having it off. Tom and I talk on the couch after the kids go to bed and spending more quality time together. I have tried reading but can’t really get into the book that I have started. I need a new one. Sometimes we end up sitting next to each other while doing different things. It is very quite, but sometimes I find myself sitting on the couch not wanting to read or think…my brain hurts to much. This is when I really want to tune out the world and watch TV. Eventually I find something to do or I go to bed. I have yet to find what entertains me. I am getting the itch to paint something so Tom better watch out! It may be project time again.

All in all, having the TV off has been a great idea. After the six weeks I am sure it will go back on again but some of these patterns will stick. Overall I have seen a great and positive change in the house and I know that will we not go back to the way it was.

No More TV

My nightly routine is as follows:  I put the kids to bed from 7:00-8:30.  At 8:30, it is ‘Becca Time’.  This occurs whether or not everyone is asleep.  I officially take myself off Mommy Duty at 8:30.  By that point I am tired and have been a Mommy for almost 14 hours. My patience and energy are completely gone and I am done!  Around 8:30pm I stroll into the kitchen, make myself a margarita, pop some popcorn, and sit in front of the television until 10:00pm.  I watch mindless shows – some are silly and others are a series that we are into.  We are currently almost through season one of Six Feet Under.  So when Tom asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to give up TV for Lent my first reaction was “No way!”  I think I literally said, “What would we do at night?”  His answer was “read books, play games, have sex, and sleep more.”  Those are all great things, but I really enjoy my one hour of mindlessness each night.  It is my escape from a busy, loud, and mentally overwhelming day.  I told him that I would have to think about it.

Giving up something for Lent has never happened in my life.  I typically feel that Lent is a made up period of time that Christians came up with.  It isn’t biblical, in my view.  I also know that I have so few vices these days that if I were to give one of them up I would be depriving myself of one of the few things that I enjoy in life.  Most people give up things like sugar, alcohol, caffeine….things I am not willing to give up.  Tom doesn’t give stuff up typically either, especially not TV.  He likes it more than I do…..I was surprised that he even suggested it and even more surprised that I was the one to shoot down the idea.

The television is something I have wanted to shut off for a while now.  Wilson relies on it pretty heavily.  He loves to watch his TV shows in the morning before school and in the afternoon if he can’t come up with something to do.  I love it because it entertains him so that I can sleep longer or make breakfast alone.  Tom and I haven’t spent much quality time together after the kids go to bed because the TV is on and he falls asleep after about thirty minutes.  The only hour that we have to spend together during the day is consumed by a giant screen on the wall.  Not the worst of habits, but not the best of them either.

After Bible study on Thursday morning I was talking to my good friend Sidney.  She and I have a lot of the same views and have known each other since birth.  She mentioned that their household was giving up TV until Easter.  I was amazed!  They enjoy the TV more than we do.  I knew that it was a big sacrifice.  It also reminded me of when we were in high school and our two families had a “no TV for a week” challenge.  We thought we would never make it a week without TV…and that was in the 1980s!  Sidney inspired me to rethink Tom’s idea to give up TV for the six weeks before Easter.  I knew that giving up TV would improve my marriage.  I knew that it would improve my home life.   I definitely knew that it would improve Wilson’s ability to play with his toys and learn to entertain himself better.  The only downfall would be that I couldn’t self medicate with a little mindlessness after a busy day…..not much of a downfall when you think about it.

I called Tom and told him that I thought that we should turn off the TV and he agreed.  The next challenge was to get the kids to buy into it.  I decided that in the car was the best time to do it.  As I drove them all home from school that afternoon I told them that Lent was a time for people to reflect on their lives.  A time to see what they were doing well and what needed improvement.  I told them that people often gave something up for Lent because Jesus gave up His life for us and we should give something up too.  They were very receptive to this idea.  Faith’s first idea was to give up a toy that she never played with anyway.  Not quite what I was looking for but she was getting there.  I then told them that Tom and I thought that we should turn off the television for the next six weeks.  Wilson immediately began to cry.  Poor thing.  He is so sweet and so cute when he cries, but he really loves his TV.   He seemed better after I told them that they could each pick and watch one “Good-bye TV” television show.  It was the grand finale show that would hold them over until Easter.  They did it and there were no more tears.

We are now 24 hours into the TV fast.  It really hasn’t been that difficult.  Wilson woke up this morning, didn’t ask for the TV, and he came into the kitchen with me to help make breakfast.  I was amazed!!  No one asked for it this afternoon when it was cold and rainy either.  I had to go out tonight to a class and when I came home Tom had rearranged the furniture so that the fireplace was the main focal point of the living room and not the television.  I may even cover it up with some of the kids art work or something.  We will see what becomes of it over the next month and a half. This is a major decision for our family.  I know that it will be so beneficial for all of us.   Right now it is 9:20pm and everyone is asleep except for me.  That is fine with me.  It is nice to sit on the couch, enjoy the quiet and type out some of my thoughts.  So far, we are doing amazingly well without the television.  Who knows, maybe we won’t want it back…..