Monday, March 3, 2008
I've Fired the Babysitter...Again
A while back I posted about my decision to "fire the babysitter"; aka the television. My children (and myself) had become too attached to it and frankly, it had to go. We hardly ever watched 'commercial' television, as it was mostly the occasional PBS broadcast and a plethora of well chosen children's education videos. In essence, nothing was 'wrong' or evil about the shows...it was just our level of dependence on TV time.
(Allow me to interject early on and say that I do NOT believe that watching television is a sin. There is nothing sinful about the act of turning on the TV. Many families enjoy watching wholesome programs occasionally that they can laugh and relate to. That is great! It can, however, turn quickly into a sin issue in a myriad of ways- this is what we must be very careful to avoid. For example: What are you watching? Is the subject matter deadening your conscience? (violence, murder, adultery, lust ) How much time are you giving to it? Is it keeping you from your duties as a mother, father, husband or wife? We must be so careful that any one area doesn't consume us or keep us from communion with Christ.)
Well, as it happens with many good resolutions after time...this one soon was broken in our household. It all started out well and good, you understand. No shows ever. Well, shows only on the weekends. Well, shows before daddy comes home so mommy doesn't pull out her hair trying to prepare dinner. Well, shows when mommy gets a shower so that no one hurts each other during that ten minute interval. Wait! Ah! The blog post! Okay, no shows ever. Well, mommy will watch them why you are napping. Get back in bed! Mommy is watching TV! You get the gist...
So, back it came...creeping into our lives once again. The Holy Spirit began to convict me that I was falling back into the same temptations once again. My idea to eradicate television from our lifestyle was fine, except it wasn't well thought out. I had replaced that "time" in our day with... absolutely nothing. It came back, slowly and surely, because there was nothing there to fill the void.
I have been reading an excellent book by Steve & Teri Maxwell, "Keeping Our Child's Hearts: Our Vital Priority". There are two major points that I would like to point out in the area of entertainment that they brought up in their book. First, 'what appetites and desires are we instilling in our children'? Are they overwhelmed with the unsatisfying thirst for entertainment and filling their pastimes with 'self' promotion? Secondly, 'if our hearts' desire as parents is to train our children to love and serve others as Christ did, how is our daily lifestyle reflecting that vision'?
It became very clear to me that although my initial idea of 'pulling the plug' may have been a valid one, it came with no conviction to do it for their eternal good. I had to really think about what appetites I was allowing in my little one's hearts. What they were hungering for was an endless need of self gratification through entertainment
Think about the years before technology had given us television, video games, computers, cell phones, ipods, etc... what did they do all day? I love hearing stories from those folks who lived 'back in the day' and all the wonderful things they did as children! That does not have to be lost! (Please don't get me wrong- I think that technology, science, and progression all have their place in our society...God gave mankind the creative powers to think, invent and imagine!)
So, I've fired the babysitter...again. Our entire family has donned the challenge of keeping the TV off and finding other, more beneficial, things to occupy our time. We have replaced the 'void' with activities that promote service to others, mommy & me devotions in Proverbs, reading- lots of it with each other and by themselves. I have a series of books- "Grandma's attic" that I read back in elementary school. They are about 150 pages each of a grandma retelling her granddaughter stories of her life as a child in the late 1800's/ early 1900's. My boys drool over them...quite literally! We've almost finished our second one...seriously my 2 & 4 year old snuggled up on the couch with a picture-free book! Of course, I have to do all the voices. :) They have such a wonderful Biblical message that weaves throughout all the stories! Check them out if you have never read them. My hubby even enjoys them!
One last encouraging example that this can work to your family's benefit... the other afternoon the boys were playing in the family room and I was making bread in the kitchen. I sat down to work on the menu plan for the week and noticed it was strangely quiet in the other room. (My boys are VERY lively...) I peeked my head around, thinking they must be into trouble. They were reading to each other! I couldn't believe it! I turned off the radio in the kitchen to allow for some quiet time. I prepared a snack for them at the table and continued my work. A few minutes later they both brought their books and sat at the table with me in almost a complete silence as they read for almost 30 MINUTES! I almost checked 'em for fevers.
So, does this mean that we are selling our television and moving to Amish country? Not quite, but I pray that my desire to dwell on "Whatsoever Is...."(Phil. 4:8) would be the primary focus in this house!
Love you all, dear bloggy friends! Have a wonderful week!