Monday, October 21, 2013

Goodbye Old Friend

I'm not exactly certain how long we had that T.V. I know for sure, longer than we've had any of our children. It was one of our first big purchases as a married couple. We went to Sam's Club and we got our big old 27" flat screen tube television. It took both my husband and his friend (two big guys) to move it into our house. We couldn't put it on just any old entertainment center, it would have flattened one of those particle board designs. Partially due to the size of the television and also because of the size of our small single wide mobile home we moved my large sturdy dresser out to the living room and used it as our entertainment center.

Since its beginning that T.V. made it through four more moves. It landed squarely in the epicenter of our current home. The room with the baby gates, the room with the exersaucer and toys, with the couches, and the upstairs balcony that allows you to hear all that is going on upstairs if you are down and all that is going on downstairs if you are up.

We don't have cable, but we do have Netflix, and then we got Hulu Plus, and then we got the trial membership of Amazon Prime. Um, pretty much cable. I can't really be a cable snob when I have almost every show available to me dating back 40+ years.

After we moved into the home we're in now, we got another bigger television. This T.V. was put in the basement i.e. the "Man Cave"/"Kid Zone". On movie nights or weekends this television is the one we would use most often. So in totality we had two televisions. Had.

My husband and I briefly discussed purging our original television one night as we sat in front of it. Initially when this conversation took place I balked. I could feel my control slipping. I'm not exaggerating when I say that anxiety started to creep in and I could feel the stranglehold of what getting rid of our central T.V. meant.

What will we DO?

Yeah, yuk it up. But honestly, for someone who uses the television as a tool (which I did) the idea of kicking it to the curb was intimidating. An example of some of the times when television came in handy went something like this: During homeschool, during dinner, during laundry folding, when the kids were bored, when I was tired, when the kids were tired. And no, we weren't watching the television all day, but every day, yes. Often during the day? Yes. Let's just take the filter off for a moment, if we haven't already...

Television had become a major struggle. 

We were watching television every day for at least an hour, sometimes a lot more than an hour. The kids were begging for it at most intervals where it wasn't on. I was generally giving in, because I didn't want to deal with the tantrums. Every night after the kids had gone to bed my husband and I would flip on the T.V. and turn one of the shows that we liked to watch on. Almost every night I would conk out watching the show, but my husband would stay up watching until late, because he was unable to fall asleep easily while it was on. Therefore, he was exhausted and I was too, because even though I was sleeping it wasn't a deep or sound sleep the way it would be if I were actually in my bed.

Then one day I texted a one line message. "I think it's time to get rid of the T.V."

That morning my husband put up a craigslist ad. That afternoon a guy came with his truck and picked it up. That evening the filing cabinets were moved to another location and the spot where the television had resided lay barren.

It was gone.

I could go into all the nitty gritty details of those first couple of days without the television, but those were a little hairy, so instead I will tell you what has followed those days with regards to the deportation of our old friend the T.V.

More purposeful parenting.

I've had to make a shift. I've had to engage the kids in more activities than ever before. I've had to involve them more in what I'm doing and crosswise involve myself more in what they are doing. This has resulted in a lot of great quality time. Yes, I do need breaks from time to time, but I'm learning how to take those breaks without using the T.V. as a babysitter.

More sleep.

This is always a good thing. When you have lots of little ones that need a cheerful mom and dad sleep is of paramount value.

Time with my husband (!)

I am a quality time person. I love to spend time with my husband and contrary to what I was under the impression of, watching television was not allowing me time with him. Yes, we were together, yes we would exchange snippets of conversation, but for us it was not "quality" time. Quality time for us is more along the lines of good conversation, laughter, making plans, and working together. Which brings me to...

Time for projects. 

Since the television's exodus we have engaged in a variety of different projects, pictured below.



A table for our daughter to have tea parties at. 


A ring sling for a dear friend. 




A ring sling for our littlest to enjoy. 


A smaller size sling for my two year old to carry her baby dolls in. 



My husband used his new forge to make this incredible knife. 





A blanket to use in the guest bedroom is underway. 


New chore charts for our 7 year old, 3 year old, and 2 year old. 


I *finally* framed some of my Grandpa's paintings that I have been wanting to put up for years. I just have to put them on the wall now!

Not pictured: All the Lego creations, Lincoln Log buildings, artwork, and outside shenanigans that have been taking place. 


All in all, for us, a more enriching and productive life. 


All this is not to say that the root of all evil lies in watching television. For some people I would dare say that having two, three, maybe five televisions is not an issue in their house. For us, it was. The temptation to use it as a default was too much. I think the key in our case was the the T.V. was in such a equidistant area of our home. Having our only remaining television in the basement makes it just inconvenient enough that watching television has gone from being a primary focus to something that happens every so often. Bummer.

I'm still not sure what we will DO with all of our time!!




"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord..." Colossians 3:23




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