TV or not TV


I can an already hear and see some reactions! Oh no, not another lecture against the television. Well, did you listen to them? If not, then read on….but on the other hand, if you’ve already made up your mind, then just turn the page.

Before I go any further, let me state quite simply that I am writing this article not to say how good we are but to be able to share with you the beautiful times we have experienced as a family, and the many graces given to us by Our Lord since we have thrown out the box.

About six years ago we decided to do something about our television addiction (quite a suitable word I would say). Lent was approaching, so why not give up viewing for Lent? The first two weeks of Lent was rough going, the rest was bliss.

Looking back I can say that television was not only harmful in what we saw, but also in its affect on the individual members of the family. I can remember the countless times of irritation shown towards the children when they dared to interrupt the adults viewing time (the rushed night prayers so that we don’t miss the news). The box became the pivotal point around which was scheduled all else. On reflecting back, we were strict in what we allowed our children to view. However, I will try and portray a typical scene, experienced daily, to illustrate the effect of regular viewing on the children. The eldest child was old enough to know the time when their programme would start. So just before 4 o’clock there would be a yelling “TV time'”, and then promptly (amazing how prompt children can be), all toys and activities would come to an abrupt end.

They would then spend the next half-hour mesmerized by some ‘child’ programme which in itself was pretty innocent…..but oh! the immediate effect after the programme was no return to their previous activities. Instead, they became listless, quarrelsome and just plain lazy.

Soon Lent was over so what now? Ah, here lies the rub, the machine was still in the house, so out with TV, in with videos. In the beginning this worked seemingly well. We could first do our duties washing up eating, cleaning around the house, some more time for prayer, and then that special movie from the video shop around the corner. Very soon quite a small budget was developed for “good videos” and the children (and parents) did enjoy the videos until they got to know them too well. It did not take long before we had seen all the good stuff. Then the next problem arrived. Which video to look at? Not to worry, for the friendly video shop is stocked for Africa. Soon we discovered that this is no place for browsing,
especially not for children…..adults need blinkers.

We always said that when times become tough the TV would go first. Here we must give all credit to Our Lord. He allowed us to go through a financial hard time, and the TV, the video recorder and all the videos were sold. It supplied us with two months of groceries. DEO GRATIAS (I’m afraid we lacked the courage, to just throw it out?we needed the money).

What has this move meant to our family? I can with all honesty say that this was the best for our family. The children have now developed countless hobbies which would never have been there if we still had the box. They also spend a large portion of the day playing outside and using their own imagination, even inventing their own games. It is amazing how much time you suddenly have.

Most people say they have no time, but I think they would be shocked if they counted up the hours spent in front of the TV. At first we thought that with no more television the children would miss it, and so, when given the opportunity they would then sit glued to the box, but quite the opposite has happened. They complained of headaches and became bored very quickly. This does not mean that we don’t miss the occasional time when one feels like a good movie. There are times that we long for some form of ‘home movie’, but they are now few and far in between. Since the television has gone so too has a certain part of our repeated failings vanished, which in its turn aids towards a peaceful soul. Family meals have become very entertaining and enjoyable. The children listen often to audio cassettes. The great advantage of this is that they are often doing something creative, eg. colouring in, a puzzle, sewing, constructing a model aeroplane, reading, etc., ‘during this time. . We also make an effort to intro them to good music. The library has become other favourite with the family and some of the children are very good readers. Because we have no more television we have tried to be generous with the children in, supplying them with other sources of entertainment, eg. buying paints, craft material, stimulating and different hobbies, etc.

So, to be for not to be, for us it’s no more a question. DEO GRATIAS.