Sunday, May 3, 2009

So help me....

I am done with television!  I am at the point where I feel this is our only hope and to my husbands great surprise, I freaked out and threw out our TV's today.  Chucked them right in the trash.  A 40" Sony flat screen and a 32" w/ DVD RCA flat screen.

Okay, okay....before my mom has a heart attack I guess I should confess that I didn't really throw them out, I just had hubby put them in the storage room for the next thirty days, at least. Okay mom, you can breathe now. 

"Why did you get rid of the TV's?".   I've had a few people ask me why on Facebook, so I thought I'd post about it here.  Below are just a few of the reasons we got rid of the tv. 

1. I'm extremely tired of my children being so media focused.  
2. I'm tired of being ignored because of the tv.
3. I want more time with my kids and husband.
4. I would rather see my children playing outside than being couch potatoes.
5. I would rather see my children reading a book than watching mindless TV.
6. I would rather play a board/card game or put a puzzle together with my kids.
7. I believe that my children will start communicating more respectfully to each other and to us.
8. I believe our family will appreciate making this change.

I could go on and on about how I feel, but I'm not trying to convert anyone to the TV-Free side. I've had a feeling that we needed to get rid of the TV's for a long time.  This whole TV issue has been going on for years and we've just ignored it.  When the twins were little, I would have gone insane if Barney wasn't a daily part of our lives.  Most people are insane because of Barney, but my twins loved that purple dinosaur.  Those formative years, before my children started Kindergarten, were sadly spent in front of the television much of the time. I'm guilty of letting the TV be a babysitter because I was too tired to deal with the stress and not very creative in finding other ways to spend our time.  There, I said it.  I'm a mom and I'm not perfect.  

Growing up with TV:I truly believe that how television is used when you are growing up plays a huge part in how you use television as an adult.  Both of my parents were profoundly deaf and both lost their hearing when they were young.  I remember when Closed Captions (CC) came out.  We had one of those huge console TV's and a box on top of it that allowed the CC's to come through.  I was pretty young when CC's came out, so most of my memory is of TV with CC's.  When my parents were home, we would watch CC'ed shows, like The Love Boat, Knots Landing, Cosby Show and a whole slew of others.  I remember that TV was so important in our lives because my parents could finally enjoy what everyone else was enjoying, too.  My favorite part of the day was when my mom and dad got home from work, cooked dinner and we all ate in the living room with our TV trays.  Mom and dad had the tall ones, and my brother and I had the small ones that sat over our legs on the floor.  Those were good times because it allowed our family to be together and enjoy something together.  It didn't matter that they were deaf and we were hearing.  The shows on the tube allowed us to laugh, cry and sit in silence, but we were together.  Except for the words on the bottom of the screen and the absense of being told to "shhh!" while watching a show, we were just like any other family at that point.  We somehow communicated things we didn't know how to share without the TV.  Maybe we just lived vicariously through the characters on the television set? Their simple act of communication (without hands) was something I just didn't quite get.  It was wonderful, but clearly not my reality. Aside from television, we didn't play board/card games all that much because TV was such a fundemental part of our lives.  It wasn't until I became an adult when I realized why it was so important and why my parents loved to watch.

Oh, and for fun, do you remember this?
Well, to show you the difference....this is what I grew up with:


Materialism & Character Building:
My children are saturated with materialism and getting rid of the tv is just one way for me to put my foot down.  Not only do they want everything they see on TV, but they tend to act like the characters on their favorite shows.  The only reason we laugh at these children talking back to their parents, or parents being rude to their children is because we are numb.  My children are not the only ones who succumb to the Great Advertisment.  Do you know how many times I've sent Rob out to get a late night snack because a commercial came on?  Does anyone know why it's always Wendy's?  No?  Hmm...   Anyway, I can probably give at least 40 pounds in the last 15 years to late-night fast food advertisments.  ::Sigh::  Speaking of advertisements....has anyone seen the Cricut Expression one?  I NEED that!!

Ahem....

See....it's not just children who are tempted and targeted.  Exhausted and hungry women in their 3rd trimester, men who love new trucks, the lonely single,  the closet shopaholic, the guilt-ridden mother and the obsessed organizer (me!!!) are all being tempted by commercial ads. Oh, and if you haven't figured it out yet....Visa, Discover, American Express and Mastercard are all drooling over our hunger for satisfaction and instant gratification.  

Praise God for Dave Ramsey, though!!!

The saddest part is, I spend time and energy trying to encourage our children to be more helpful around the house and they completely ignore me. I could spend hours making a fair chore chart and unless I physically force them to complete a task, it doesn't get done.  We've tried everything: family meetings, letting the kids have a say in what is fair, talking, talking loud, talking even louder, yelling, screaming and ultimately me crying.  

After fifteen years, I've finally realized that children do not need the latest gadget to be happy.  They need our time.  They do not need to relax in front of the TV after a long day at school.  They need to get out and burn off some energy.  They also need to have chores around the house.  They need parents who don't sit in front of the television and tune out the world because they've had a stressful day.  Something inside me, an instinct of sorts, tells me that getting rid of the television will give our family more time to focus on what our family is about. Hmm...I wonder why it took me so long to follow through with something I've felt so strongly about?  

For those of you who still don't get it.  That's okay.  To sum it all up:

I'm tired of just existing and trying to get through each day. 

I want to LIVE, ENJOY and EXPERIENCE my family.

Goodbye TV and Good Riddance!






11 comments:

  1. This is great! I've went back and forth for years on getting rid of the tv for a time, etc. I also recognize my own dependecy on it, and how shameful it is. I know now that it's spring we spend most of our time (after we're done with school for the day) outside playing at the park, going on walks, sports (practices and games), etc, but come late fall and into winter...when we're inside so much more that's when tv becomes such a clutch of entertainment or numbness for our family, I think we may try a month without it this fall and see how much our family life grows!

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  2. I've had several friends throw out the tv lately, and are so happy they did. I have been informed the hardest part is breaking their own attachment to it, especially to the news. Kudos to you Lorri for doing it.
    You've gotten me thinking, especially about the late-night eating, because those commercials make me want food, and that is where all my weight gain has come from.
    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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  3. BUT WHAT ABOUT "24"...
    And by the way, i really did throw them out...

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  4. I've found that the virtual chore chart works for me. I use a site called Handipoints chore charts to make printables and it's really been fun so far!

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  5. Thank you NOT for that 'almost heart attack' - had to laugh at that only TTY device and we did throw that out in trash before we moved to Utah. Always wondered what the neighbors and trash guys thought of that thing sitting on curb. I forsee (I have ESP you know) some grandkids asking Gamma if they can come visit LOL. Good for you though even I tend to read books more now than watch TV, nothing good on anyway it seems; except for 'Burn Notice' Love, Mom (whose never watched '24')

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  6. SherrySam- that has to be the greatest invention known to man. Well, besides the washing machine, but it's a close second! My kids love it! I have to tweak it a little and have found myself getting carried away by all the points, but it is so much fun!! Thank you for posting the link to Handipoints chore charts!!

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  7. Christy & Tracy- I'll be posting in the near future about what changes I've seen (or will see) in my kids and our family life. Thank you all for leaving comments. :) I love comments!!

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  8. I love this post--bold move! And counter-cultural, too. In my forthcoming book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families, I have a chapter on technology (screens, basically). We have televisions in the house, but they are rarely on. We had to wean ourselves from it at some point, and we placed them in inconvenient spots in the house. No TV on the main floor, so they rarely even think of it. It's handy to watch an occasional movie, but TV itself with its ads (I have a chapter on consumerism, too) is not affecting us. The few times we do flip on a show, we are very analytical about what we're watching.

    I hope this brings wonderful new family dynamics--there may be push-back and a little strife at first, but in the end, I hope you have a close family full of fun and laughter, building your *own* memories.

    To live a slower life in our fast-paced world almost always requires us to be bold like this.

    The book blog is in process (www.NotSoFastBook.wordpress.com). You've reminded me to put some of the great TV-Free links up there! I'll link to this post, too.

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  9. We moved several months ago and did not bother to have television service turned on. People look at me like I have three heads when I say that we do not have "television." We do still have A television, and we watch movies (DVDs) on it sometimes. There is so much more to life, though, and time with family -- quality time -- is so important. Good for you for having the will power to move them away. Now to see what becomes of that bold move. Hehe.

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  10. I'm only 20, so I've grown up in the "technology age." My mom didn't allow us to watch TV until I was 10 years old. So many of the kids I babysit for now are addicted to the Tv. I turn it off and make them go outside and play. It fosters creativity and imagination!

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  11. I loved growing up without tv. My stepmom put ours in a closet for ten years. I read and sewed and cooke, ice skated and went outside. I wish I had the courage to throw out ours.

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