A couple of years ago, we realized we were watching way too much TV. That’s mostly because, well, we were turning it on at all! Our children were growing older, and we were becoming more and more sensitive to the messages coming through that little box straight into our home and our minds.
We subscribed to a popular satellite provider. For the first two years, we got a fairly decent price…you know…the special new customer contract pricing designed to get you hooked. Once the special pricing ended, however, the price skyrocketed. Of course, we knew ahead of time that this would happen…it wasn’t really a surprise, but it really affected our family budget. We had a new baby, and were a brand new family of six…and living on a single income. We were always looking for ways to cut our costs! We started doing a careful analysis of where exactly our money was going…and more importantly, was it worth it?
We took a long hard look at satellite TV. We were paying a lot. It was sucking down more money every month than it cost us to feed all of our animals! But were we using what we paid for? We we getting our money’s worth?
The short answer was a definite, resounding, NO!
We were paying for hundreds of channels, but only regularly watched about ten. Our children watched some cartoons on the kids channels, of course. We watched our local news station. We watched mostly sports channels in the evenings.
Now, for the more important question in our analysis. Was the money we were spending for these channels (the small fraction that we did watch) helping us raise happy, healthy, faithful children?
Again, the answer was a big, fat, NO!
Sure, there were kids shows that the children enjoyed. Some of them were even “educational”, and though not completely devoid of social engineering, they were fairly innocuous.
However, when we started considering what our kids were seeing on some of the other channels we were watching, it started making us uncomfortable. We enjoyed watching a good football or baseball game, and yes, we liked watching bull riding too. Those seem fairly safe, right? I mean, what could be more important than encouraging that good ole’ American sportsmanship?
But, then came the commercials…all those commercials intended to get into your head to sell you something. They’re supposed to be flashy, they’re supposed to stick with you. There were scantily clad women dancing around. There were spots touting how awful and confining it was to be “tied down” with children. There were even segments advertising our culture’s favorite ways to prevent that from happening…some of them nearly pornographic.
No, these were not the sorts of things we wanted being tucked into our children’s young, impressionable minds night after night after night. Satellite television was definitely not a tool that would help us raise happy, healthy, faithful children.
It would have to go, we decided. I called our service provider, and cancelled the service. They offered me all kinds of deals to try to get me to change my mind. But I held firm. Still, more than two years later, I still receive little love notes from them in the mail. They tell me how much they miss me, and how much they will do to get me back. Such desperation is kind of sad, really.
We kept the TV hooked up to the DVD player, and yes, the VCR (we’re still a little old-school). We can watch a movie any old time we want. VeggieTales is often on our “Feature of the Day” list. The TV schedule can no longer rule our day. I can choose to turn it on, or send everyone out to play.
To be honest, we don’t even miss it. Our evenings are full of family time. Our days are full of laughter, learning, and play. There are days when we go the entire day without any screen time at all…and we’re better off for it!
Life isn’t about prime time. It’s not about sports or cartoons. It’s about spending time with your friends and family. It’s about making sure your children grow up happy, healthy, and faithful. You won’t remember the score of that baseball game in ten years. But, I’d be willing to bet that your kids will remember all the time you spent with them instead.