We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Mar 18, 2007

All Sorts of Media

I want to start this post by admitting that I am a public radio junky. I not only know the schedule of my local station but also two from towns that I no longer live in but regularly listen to on line. I can even hum along to the theme songs to most of the show. My husband tolerates my obsession, only turning it off he finds it too repetitive or depressing. I have found since Alder's birth that NPR has kept me company especially when he was younger and didn't do as much as he does now.

We are lucky enough to live in a city with two wonderful stations. One is all talk the other is an amazing jazz station KUVO. So if Kevin is around we often listen to that instead, I get my news fix every thirty minutes and we get to hear great jazz old and new (this is no smooth jazz station). However on the weekends we are dedicated listeners to two shows "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "This American Life". Many Sundays have been stalled because of these shows.

This weekend This American Life was about television and it's affects on people. This got me thinking about our relationship with television and how we are going to approach it with Alder.

Currently our television resides in an unused fireplace in our living room. It is the perfect spot for it. Most of the time the curtain is pulled on it and it is out of sight. When we want to watch a video or DVD we pull the curtain. We do not have cable and in a brick fire place there is now reception. This is fine with us.

Both Kevin and I grew up as TV kids. For me it was company in my empty apartment waiting for my dad to get home from work. I usually thought what I was watching was dumb but I would keep it on (yes I watched awful things like Saved By the Bell and Magnum PI).

When I went off to college I chose not to have one there and it was a good choice. Without it I turned music and the radio on more and was able to do more. Even back then when I would go home I would usually have one or two TV days and then I would turn it off. I still felt the same draw of it that I did as a child.

More recently I find that every time we go to my in-laws I am sucked into a night of television watching which usually ends with me going to bed ridiculously late and in tears. I am not crying because of the show that I was watching but because I continued to watch. The TV felt like it was draining me of will and purpose.

I am sure there are many people who can turn on the TV for one show and happily ignore it for the rest of the night but I can not. It's the same way that if I am reading a good book I have to stay up to finish it. It isn't a healthy practice so rather than having the temptation here we choose not to have it at all.

Okay that isn't completely true. Occasionally we will borrow the DVD of a show that we like. But that isn't as bad for my mind because we are actively choosing to watch it and there isn't the temptation for me to continue to watch after it's done (although there was the Buffy incident when I discovered that a friend had all seven seasons... lets just say that month was a blur).

Now we have Alder and eventually the TV issue will arrive. I am hoping that he will be willing to be happy with DVDs for a long time. In general we are hoping to create a non TV culture for him. This will be easier homeschooling. But if the day comes when he asks to have a TV in the house I am not sure what we'll do.

The average adult in the United States watched 29 hours of TV a week. If the average work week is 40 hours and people sleep say 6 hours a night, plus 1 hour for commuting hmm that's 122 hours of their lives spent not being with family and friends. If you figure a week is 158 hours long and I haven't even included going to the bathroom, showering, cleaning the house or errands I don't see how anyone ever spends time with each other.

I guess this is all a good argument for homeschooling, having a family business and no TV.

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