My wife and I have been talking for months about whether or not we should get rid of our TV. And it’s a slow process. It first began by reducing from two DVR’s to one. Then it continued with cutting all of our cable but the bare minimum/basics so we can keep the one DVR to record the shows we like. Then my wife said, “Let’s give up TV for Lent.” And I immediately agreed.
This is not a big deal for a lot of you. Many of you don’t have TV’s, or you watch the bare minimum anyways. But for some of you, it would be a big deal. And it was a big deal for us, but an easy decision.
Here are some reasons…
- We found ourselves coming home and immediately turning the TV on, even if we weren’t watching it. That was scary.
- We noticed our 20mos old daughter always asking to watch her shows (Dora, Signing Time, etc.)
- We felt like we were in a big transition in life and needed the quiet to pray, hear God’s voice and discern wisely.
- We had lots to do that wasn’t getting done.
- We felt exhausted all the time and watching TV seem to perpetuate that.
- Lots of people we admire don’t own, or watch TV (The Saddington’s, The Steward’s, my cousins, my brother and sister-inlaw, etc.). We kept looking around and noticed that there was a correlation between those who didn’t have a TV, or watched it very limited, and the effectiveness of how they spent their time, their success, as well as the joy they seemed to have.
- It’s hard to really maintain a healthy level of relational connectivity and intimacy in our marriage if the TV is always on.
- We wanted to read more (our Bibles, as well as just our novels, theology, therapy texts, etc.).
- We wanted to set a better example for each other, especially our daughter.
- This is the testing ground to help us determine if we should cut cable completely and possibly get rid of our TV, or at least put it away.
And 36 Days In….
Well, we have had our moments. There are times when it is super easy, and times when we are really wanting to turn it on. But all in all, it has been much easier than expected. This is my second longest stint of no TV. I went about four months when I was living in Guatemala, and that was super easy and I didn’t miss it at all. In fact, that’s when I felt I grew the most as a person, and I think there was a correlation to not watching TV that played a factor in that.
Here are just a few things that I have observed in the last 36 days…
- If you aren’t careful, TV becomes more than a habit, but an unconscious compulsion and serious addiction.
- If you can resist the initial impulse to turn the TV on, like for example when you walk in the door or after dinner…then it gets easier through the night to not have it on.
- My daughter has stopped asking to watch her TV shows, and I’ve noticed that she has engaged in more creative and imaginary play than before.
- We have been better able to connect as a married couple, and also listen to God, which in turn has helped us make some wiser decisions about our future in many areas of our lives.
- We have been dreaming more about what life can and should be, and we have picked up old hobbies, or pursued new ones.
- I’m enjoying music and books more than before.
- I’m more productive (writing, blogging, reading, working around the house).
- I’m more desirous and content with complete stillness and quiet…not productivity.
- Friendships have flourished more since I am more readily available to make phone calls and catch up and listen to people.
- I’m appreciating the smaller things in life that I think were drowned out by the constant noise and visual stimulation.
I would love to hear your thoughts…
- Do you watch/own a TV? Why or why not?
- Have you ever thought about reducing the amount of TV you watched?
- If you have got rid of your TV, or watch the bare minimum, what has been the effect on you or your family?
- What’s the hardest thing about not having/watching TV?
So only about 10-11 more days for us…we have cheated a bit and are recording some shows that we like and have missed during this time. We are looking forward to watching some of them. But we are also thinking about whether or not we need to get rid of the TV, or set better boundaries around it. This Lent period has definitely given us a better vision of how great life can be when TV is not in control.