My husband and I started a media fast on Feb. 11. I blogged about the start of it- read it here. One reason that we chucked the TV and additionally decided to fast media for a month was that TV had become somewhat of an addiction in our home…not so much for me or my husband,
but for our kids.
I wasn’t ready to blog about this part of our “no tv” journey in the previous post, but things have settled down a bit now, and I hope someone else can benefit from my mistakes as a mom.
Things had gotten out of hand. I think the kids were nearing addiction, if not already there. It was like I had to be a circus clown to out-do the wonder and the power of the TV in our home. When there was ever a dull moment in the day or a time when I needed to do dishes, laundry or something else needed to be done other than playing with my kids, they would immediately run to the TV and would stay there all day if I let them. I am the first to acknowledge that their addiction is my fault- boundaries were weak, and rules were bent. My limits were always pushed, and there was always a struggle between the allure of the TV and the activities or ideas I was offering my kids. Something had to be done. Our old efforts of limits and rules were not working.
To be transparent with you, at first I resisted the idea of tossing the tube. I thought “oh no- what if we NEED it?”…maybe I was addicted to the idea of having one…“What if I need the kids to be entertained in order to get something done?!!” What was I thinking??? What happened to them being kids and playing blocks or trains or dolls for entertainment?
I wanted to hide the TV or put it in the basement, but my wise husband thought that getting it out of our home was the best option for our family at this point in our lives. Sure enough, as soon as we took the TV out of the house I felt an immediate sense of peace and order come over our home. I felt as if an adversary that I had been battling for quite some time was just escorted out and shown his place…which is NOT in our home.
Before taking the TV out of the house, we explained to our kids that we were giving our TV to people who needed it more than we did, and that being willing to give our stuff away makes God happy. We also explained that we want to be free to give God all of our thoughts, time and energy, and that sometimes the TV can be a distraction from living the way He wants us to live. They were excited about the idea of giving the TV away and the other explanation I hope will make sense to them later 🙂
They walked out with us as we loaded it into the car, and they have never looked for the TV or asked for it since then. They have talked about some movies they enjoy, but there has been no struggle- no battle- no guilt…there has been peace. The whining (while not totally gone) has significantly decreased and their engagement with games, puzzles and books has skyrocketed. Thank you Lord! We needed this breakthrough.
Have I missed the TV? At times, yes. There are moments when I want to zone out and just veg. To be honest though, the perks of not having a TV have far outweighed the benefits of having one.
Here are the top 10 best things about having no TV:
1. I play WITH my kids, rather than scurrying around the house getting things done while they endlessly zone out with the TV. My kids play WITH each other and independently when I am otherwise occupied…most of the time :)!!!
2. There is NO GUILT in my life for letting them watch too much TV and NO MORE WORRY that they are slipping away right before my eyes into children influenced and in love with all that our world of media throws at them.
3. There is no whining for more TV and no tantrums when I say “no”.
4. My husband and I are reading books together again–haven’t done that for about a year. We are reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas at night before bed- it’s very good…HIGHLY recommended!
5. My husband and I go to bed early! Earliest time lately has been 8:30! It’s wonderful to wake up refreshed and to have energy to seek God before the kiddos wake up!
6. When we play together there is tangible peace – I am not afraid that the next whining and relentless request will be to go watch TV and that I have to continue fighting a battle I am bound to lose.
7. I feel like I have regained a sense of control and responsibility – I control what comes into my house, not Nick Jr. Also, before I felt like a victim of the TV- controlled by it’s control of my kids. Now I am in charge of my kids again. Sounds weird to say that, but I am just being honest!
8. I am inspired again to do things I want to do (like writing!), instead of zoning out wasting time at night or during nap times.
9. I am reading the newspapers and online news since I don’t get my nightly news fix on the tube anymore. I kind of feel like a responsible adult!! 🙂
10. My kids hearts are softer and more obedient- I am not sure how, but I feel like taking this step of faith to remove the TV was something they needed us to do for them. They are much happier and more pleasant to be around and the struggle of TV is gone.
Our addiction was our adversary. Thank God, the adversary has been escorted out. I am sure other adversaries will come, but I trust God to lead us in His wisdom on how to deal with whatever challenges may come in the future.
Just to be clear: our family life is not suddenly perfect, and my kids are still kids. We still struggle with obedience, respect, love, kindness and all the rest that every family deals with, but there is a renewed sense of focus, order and peace in our home that is undeniable. For that I am so grateful.
Thank you Lord for leading us- even to do silly things like throwing out the TV. You know what is best for us, and I trust you to complete this good, humble and promising work you have started in our home, in our hearts. Help us to continue to be sensitive to Your voice as you faithfully and gently lead us. You are the best leader and the most tender-loving Father. We love being yours.How about you?
Am I the only one who feels outmatched by Nick Jr.? What are the struggles unique to your situation? How has God invited you to lead your family in ways that may be unique to how He is calling you to live? How have those steps of obedience affected your kids?
Thanks so much for sharing your insights, questions and your journey with me. It’s truly an honor to know you and share life with you!~ Wrapped in His Affection ~