I have been asked often why we never had a TV during the years we raised our children.
For one thing, our backgrounds played a part in this decision. My husband grew up in a broken home where his mom had to work to earn the living. He says in many ways, he was raised by a TV set. His mom was just too busy, working to survive. He didn’t want his kids to be raised by the TV, too.
Finances were another reason. When we first got married we were very low on funds and for that reason, we just didn’t get a TV set. We learned to fill our time with other things and pretty soon we realized we didn’t miss having one.
Content was the biggest reason we chose not to have a television in our home. As time went by, when we would see even commercials at other’s houses or shows that were aired, we couldn’t believe how things were becoming corrupt so quickly. When I was a kid we watched Leave it to Beaver or Timmy and Lassie, maybe Bonanza on Sunday nights. Most shows made it clear that there was right and wrong. The good guys were rewarded and bad guys punished. But we began to see a big shift in this in the television world as new philosophies arose. Also you can’t control what comes across the TV screen. Even if you are fairly certain the show is “good”, the many commercials are filling your mind with untrue messages.
We were very new Christians, and we did not want those things the world was offering through tv in front of our children’s eyes; we decided to fill our kids’ minds with the Word at every opportunity we had. We also read to our children often. Almost nightly we would read as a family and the kids loved it. We read Bible stories, the Bible itself, series like Little House on the Prairie, good literature, historical fiction, biographies, and even just books written about different events in history. Sometimes we would even have reading nights were we all just sat around the living room, eating treats, and reading the books we’d gotten from the library.
We began to see that kids are naturally creative and TV can stifle that creativity if not guarded carefully. It’s so easy to sit and watch rather than use your brain to create or imagine. It often serves as a distraction to making the best use of our time.
Now, I’m not saying to you “Don’t have a T.V.” If you choose to, however, you must really control your use of it, and remember that’s not an easy thing to do. We have a DVD player now, and even though you have control over what you watch, it’s still a temptation to rely on it too much.
Everyone has to decide what works best for their family and sometimes that changes through the years, but I don’t regret at all not making use of one while raising my kids.