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Jul 29, 2013

Make It A TV-Free Summer

MaryAnn Gaver

...The family of four sat motionless in the family room that night after dinner. All facing the same direction, their eyes stared at that blue screen, conversation abated. They couldn't hear the symphony of summer crickets and frogs in the little koi pond outside their patio door. And they didn't hear the breeze blowing or the distant whistle of the train...

As we calculated the many hours wasted in front of the TV, we decided to do something radical. We said goodbye to TV-viewing that night fifteen years ago, and don't regret it one bit! 

For wholesome entertainment, we opted to do family DVD movies on the weekends. We looked forward those movie nights each week. And that popcorn --- I didn't measure it quite right!  It popped and popped until it spilled over the bowl and onto the counter top. "Quick! Help!" I'd admonish before popcorn exploded in every direction. We laughed and caught the airborne kernels as they shot out of the machine... 

I noticed that we began to linger at the table a little longer after dinner to share ideas and opinions. Many summer nights, we drove to the Frederick Key's baseball stadium to enjoy some fast-moving (or dreadfully uneventful) innings. A few times, we made the trek to Camden Yards to see Maryland's Baltimore Orioles play. In other words, we didn't miss out on a thing!

Not having TV gave us more time to converse, read, play board games (like Monopoly), and exercise. It also gave us time on the weekends to have people over for dinner or dessert --- more time to enjoy one another's company.

What about keeping up with the news? The radio and internet work fine. It's easy to stay informed, engaged, and involved in the world without having TV.

Whether it was our town's race for mayor, or a Congressional race in MD ---- we made a concerted effort to not only keep up with the latest happenings, but to have an influence when possible. (Sure --- being close to D.C.. helps -- but all families can make a difference in their own states and communities.)

We existed and thrived without TV -- and all of us changed as a result of that decision. We became closer as a family, and had more time to develop deep relationships with extended family, friends and neighbors. We had more harmony and unity. More time to hear excellent music, too!

Here's why I'm not a TV proponent:

I observed that:

1)  Television is a time-stealer.

2)  Television is a relationship-squelcher.

What are your thoughts on this subject? I'd love to hear your opinions!

Enjoy your family today. 

love,

MaryAnn

P.S. For other blogs related to today's topic, please see Conversational Competence I & Converssational Competence II.

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