Eileen Button, an acquaintance from the Festival of Faith & Writing, writes an opinion piece for a Michigan newspaper.This one is about TV-free living.She explains:
I know people who are not tempted by their own sets, but we were. Night after night, it beckoned us to watch it…We let it.In the process, I’m afraid that it kept us from one another. As we sat in a darkened room with the mesmerizing images flickering before our eager eyes, we chose to communicate with technology rather than one another.
Something clicked, so to speak, and she and her husband realized they wanted more.They wanted more with each other–more connection, more conversation, more fun and laughter–so they chose to do with less of the thing that stole time and diverted attention from each other.They put away their TV.They carried it out of the family room and banished it to the basement, only to be brought out for an occasional Wii-fest.Their TV-free life resulted in long walks in the woods. Conversation. Unexpected hand-holding. Rearranging furniture to accommodate conversation instead of screen-staring.
I realize our decision to divorce ourselves from network programming will seem odd to some. I also realize it will require more of me as a parent. My children will want more of my time, laughter and conversation. They’ll ask me even more questions to which I have absolutely no answers. They’ll get into each other’s faces and want to fight. And, they’ll want to play board games even though board games make me want to poke my eyes out with a fork.But I know there will come a day when my children will be grown and will no longer be available to me night after night. All that will remain of their childhoods is the memory of what it was like to have them.
Putting the TV completely away won’t work for everyone. Some families have chosen to limit instead of completely eliminate TV. Others find certain programs a pleasure to laugh through together and talk about later. And for many, it is their primary source of entertainment, and they wouldn’t dream of giving it up.I don’t think Eileen is saying for an instant that a TV-free life is right for everyone.She simply tells her story and ends with the gentle reminder that we must at least recognize that there’s a battle going on in our society–a battle for our minds, time and attention:
We must all decide for ourselves the degree to which we will engage with technology. Those who believe that spending hours upon hours with our sets rather than one another risk losing something more important than high quality reception.
Sobering advice from a mom reaping the benefits of a slower, lower-tech life.Would you say you’re a high-volume TV consumer, or low to little?And how much does it impact family interaction?Join the discussions in the comments. I’m very curious.