“Nice entertainment center…”

messages Jan 02, 2009

This was the compliment I recently received from my brother in regards to this:

This is my 13" color t.v. from college (complete with 60's era rabbit ears) making a rare appearance in our house. It usually resides in the front hall closet next to the vacuum. The vacuum gets waaaay more play than the tv (okay, so I'm also a little O.C.D. when in comes to vacuuming). People think we're weird -- granted for many reasons -- because we don't watch much t.v. and we don't have cable. It used to be that I would wrestle this little bugger out of the closet every Friday night so that our daughter (now 8) could watch cartoons on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the only time she was allowed to watch. Lately she doesn't even bother to watch at all.

My no t.v. commitment began in about 1998 when I was babysitting a friend's young child. He was watching t.v., I asked him a question, and I got no response. I asked again, and still no response. I looked at his face and was completely spooked out - he had a look of utter hypnosis and was so absorbed in the t.v. it grossed me out. Subsequently, our daughter didn't watch t.v. until she was about 5 years old, and then it was only certain shows and for very short amounts of time. (Yes, we talked about the fact that this could make her a social freak on the playground...) I also realized that it wasn't very fair that she wasn't allowed to watch t.v., but I could. So no t.v. for me, either.

I realized that while watching television I was only interested in talking to someone during the commercial break. When the commercial was over, I wanted to go back to the show, but they were still talking. Why is their mouth still moving? Can't they see the show is back on? I wanted them to stop talking. I was looking at them, but straining with my ears to keep track of what was going on in the show. Real nice, Jenny. Is that how I should be treating someone important to me? What's more important: some ridiculous show, or who is in the room with you? What I also realized was that most television shows were somewhat insulting to our intelligence. Now I'm not saying I'm a genius or more cultured that the average person, but when a show is about how to get someone to cheat on someone else, or to undermine someone else, how is this improving my life? One morning my daughter was watching a Bratz cartoon, and it was about girls sabotaging each other. I was stunned. Thanks, that's just what I want my daughter to learn. I know there are shows out there that are educational and uplifting, but the vast majority are empty entertainment.

As a nation we are facing an obesity crisis, of which there are many causes. I just came across a recent article in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that found 9 out of 10 t.v. ads run during children's programming are for junk food. In the rare instances I do watch t.v., I see tons of commercials for piping hot pizza, beer, more pizza, and snacks. Guess what my stomach wants? "Hmmmm... a little somethin' somethin' would be good..." Never mind that I'm not truly hungry.

The average American watches over 4 hours of television per day - that adds up to approximately 28 hours per week. That's the same as having a part time job. A job for which you would be eligible for benefits! What's one of the biggest things we struggle with? Feeling like we don't have enough time. What could you do with 28 hours each week? You also may be asking yourself "What the heck would I do?" "What would my kids do, besides drive me crazy?" Any change in routine comes with a little bit of discomfort, but after while you may realize you are better off spending your time differently. You may want to start out with 1 night per week without watching television. Maybe you can find things that improve you as a person: reading a good book, exercising, spending quality time with people important to you, churning your own butter...

Sorry if this came across a little "soap box-y" - I didn't mean for it to. Just something to think about. Maybe a little less tv, a little more movement and a little more human connection.

I've been sick the last 4 days and haven't worked out. The bright side of being sick for me is that when I feel better, I'm reminded how wonderful it is to feel good, be healthy and how fortunate I am. I'm feeling better and really looking forward to making myself uncomfortable today. You?

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