Too Much of the "Tube" Can Set You Up to Loose
I have a confession to make, not one I really like to mention. But here goes, ok, I really like television. Yep, I enjoy that silly box with it's flashing lights and all. I like to sit with my paper work and hear the story of what is on the tv playing in the background. (sort of like an audio book, but the enjoyment of catching an image or two while I am working) Now we don't watch regular tv channels, I am pretty choosy about what sort of tv is watched for our family. The enjoyment of DVDs is where we live most of the time from Andy Griffith, to Gomer Pyle, to Little Bear and Guess How Much I Love You to The Reluctant Saint and The Trouble with Angels to Tales from Avonlea and Anne of Greengables. The DVDs we spend time with have beautiful images, silly innocent aspects, and great story lines. Ones that edify and uplift. But truth be told there is a limit to everything and the realization that being quiet is really really hard for me and my family has become apparent.
So this summer we are going to try to unplug or at least cut back a bit. In the book, Simplicity Parenting, by Kim Payne, he states that too much "tube" leaves children's minds "unfed, their imaginations unused, their bodies unexercised, their thoughts unexpressed, and unheard." And Love and Logic founder, Jim Faye says, "that the research show that any more than 30 min of television per day, regardless of the content, makes children misbehave." His belief and experience is that when children watch tv for too long they have a hard time coming back to reality and dealing with life and the people around them.(and then add in bad content and you have now compounded the problem.)
My hope is that this summer we can cut back our screen time at least 15-20 min, and teach all of us how to be more comfortable with quiet. There is a worry though growing inside me wondering what we will do without the hum of DVDs in the background. I think about Charlotte Mason who believed in allowing children to fill their own free time with careful guidance (on the onset) from the parent. As we move in the direction of having to fill our time without our usual tv companion, Miss Mason says that we "most certainly will become imaginative and creative and our hours will be rich and enjoyable." I'll need to help us in the beginning by giving our children suggestions and ideas, (and continue our habit of Read Alouds) , but I think little by little we'll get comfortable with the quiet.
So if you have a need to cut back on any screen time (computers, tv, tablets, phones, etc.) know that I will be praying for you. It's a great habit to train on over the summer as it will give us more of a fighting chance with our kiddies and ourselves to have "restful" learning come the new school year. And I think about what better habit to instill in our children (and myself) than to guide them toward quiet and to be comfortable that way. God did say we will know Him in the silence. Bonus, and I'm looking forward to it.