By Alyice Edrich
My children cried when they realized they could no longer watch their favorite television shows, but soon learned that wholesome videos can cure their withdrawals in a moment's notice. But more importantly, they've gotten off their butts and started enjoying more physical and bonding activities. And the best part is that I no longer hear, "Just a minute mom. I'll be there on commercial. Huh, what did you say? Oh, I forgot because I got hooked on this show." And, "do I have to? I was right in the middle of the good part!"
It all began on February 9, 2004 when my friend and I attended an all-day Women's Bible Study. At one of the workshops, the speaker discussed ways we could simplify our lives and in return grow stronger bonds with our children and other loved ones. One of her suggestions was to nix the television. She read a study that stated television consumption wastes approximately 4 hours of our day and 13 years of our lives. She went on to ask, "If you knew you could gain just 6 of those years back by cutting your television watching down to just 2 hours a day, what would you do with all that time?"
The irony was that this lesson came at a time when my husband and I requested our cable services be lowered to the very basic package, but found the cable company had disconnected our service instead. Now for those of you who live in a big city being without cable isn't that big of a deal, but for those of us who live in rural communities, we need cable just to get channels 2 through 13 to come in clear. After learning that the cable company wasn't going to be able to come back out for another week and that we would incur a "service connection" charge, we decided to forego cable altogether.
Our 9 year-old-daughter stormed out of the room, up the stairs, and straight into her bedroom as she mumbled and screamed about the injustice of it all. Our 13 year-old-son looked at us in disgust while he complained that he'd never be able to watch television again because the only shows he ever watched were cable-only stations. And my husband; well, let's just say that he had a moment of television jitters but soon realized something pretty powerful-television shows had become more important than socializing with his family and friends. He realized and later admitted that he had grown accustomed to planning his time around what show was on at what time and yelling at the kids to "not" interrupt him.
I'll admit that the first week was the hardest. With so much time on their hands, my children began bickering with each other over the silliest things. After a week of listening to my children constantly bicker, I was ready to re-order cable. But we stuck it out. We're now going on our third week and I'm pleased to announce that no one has died of boredom, the children have stopped bickering (well for the most part), my husband and I have found more time to talk with our kids and each other, we've rediscovered reading for pleasure, and board games have become a family affair. It truly has been a blessing in disguise and a great way to reacquaint ourselves with one another.
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