Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Has anyone else seen the movie "Avalon?" I watched it last night. It's a very sad, though poignant and thought-provoking movie.

One of it's major themes is portraying how TV has effected the American family. The movie begins with a jovial Grandpa telling his life stories to all of his young relatives, as they listen with complete absorption. As the movie progresses, we see how the television has taken everyone's attention from each other. There is no story-telling...or if there is, no one is listening. Instead of listening to Grandpa, the children's eyes are glued to the TV. Seriously, this movie almost made me cry. But it has made me more firm in my convictions to impose strict limits on TV watching with my own kids some day! (Actually, they probably won't be allowed to watch any TV...just videos).

I grew up without a television (by my parents' choice) and am so thankful for this today. I don't think I missed anything. In fact, I think I gained a lot, because I had to learn how to entertain myself. I learned to love reading. My sisters and I used to spend hours playing with blocks, dolls, Little People (I don't think they make these anymore!), making "forts" in the backyard, riding bikes, drawing pictures, making crafts, "helping" mom bake...

I like to tease my parents about what a "primitive" childhood they gave me! No TV and no computer. It could not have been any better.

My own children will probably not be restricted from the computer and TV entirely (because Micah and I have both). But there must be a way to effectively limit them, and find an appropriate balance. Those of you with children do you handle this with your families?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a christian homeschooling mom of three boys, aged 6, 3, and 1. (expecting another in March :) )
There still are Little People. Actually, there are a lot of little people toys available today, it is one of my boys' favorites! Anyways, I have cups for each boy, not the baby, and I put tickets in the cup, I have 8 tickets in each cup, it is replenished each Sunday. No carrying over from last week, each week starts with only 8 tickets. They must pay a ticket to watch a show. Only approved shows are allowed. Some families might make a list of approved shows. No more than two or three tickets a day (so they don't save them up and have a tv bonanza on Saturday or something). A longer show, like a movie, might cost two tickets. They have yet to use all their tickets in a week. :) Video games and computer time also cost tickets. They also have to have at least a good start on their chores (get dressed, brush teeth, make bed, etc.) One more thing, all who are watching must pay a ticket. And I can tell who is watching, and who isn't.

7:47 AM, August 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have three young boys too. We limit their tv watching to later in the day...and then they only watch dvds. This way, when the show is over, it's easy to turn off as nothing else is coming on; we can very closely monitor what they are watching - no unexpected surprises via ads etc; and we can be sure that the content of the program is something we approve of.

9:23 AM, August 07, 2005  
Blogger Nichola said...

I grew up with some TV for awhile and then we went for several years without it. We had good movies we liked, but also watched tv some. There was plenty of junk then. It is way worse now. There is no way that I want a tv in my house now that will get stations. It is just not worth it. Right now we don't have a tv at all. I do have a DVD player on my computer and so I let my 3 year old watch some movies that way. But not many. Sometimes she only watches about 3-4 a month. I think that kids need to be being kids. When you are watching a movie your mind is just vegging out. Some have good content and interesting things that spark an interest. But I have noticed that the things that I learn about and then see something on tv/in a movie I am able to enjoy much more than if I just watch and wait for it to feed me the info. I too am not sorry that I don't know all the popular movies, actors names, etc. I can't see that it hurt me a bit. I had lots more time to read!!! :-)

On the compute, my husband and I have talked about this a lot. We feel that by waiting to let the kids even use the computer, they will be able to learn better. We all love our computers, but they are not a good subtitute for reality. I think that by letting kids just do kid stuff until they are older will allow them to develop parts of their brain and all that they wouldn't otherwise. I am not a professional on this and so someone else could probably say it all more elequently!

Anyway, there's my bit of input! :-)

11:49 AM, August 07, 2005  
Blogger Carrie said...

Erin, I think our families must be a lot alike! We grew up without a TV, too, and I really think it helped us be more creative and learn to make our own fun rather than being entertained all the time. We also loved to play with the Little People, and while they do still make them, they are not quite the same . . . I actually prefer the look of the old ones, but probably because that's what I grew up with! Fortunately my parents still have all our old ones, and a couple houses, so when we go there, Sam loves to play with them! We recently acquired the parking garage (newer version) from some friends, so eventually we will need to get some cars and Little People to go with it!

Anyway, back to the TV thing--we also have a TV, and VCR/DVD player, but we don't get any channels. We actually decided that August would be TV turn-off month for us, where we won't watch any videos or DVDs. We just felt we were wasting too much time watching them while we could be doing more profitable stuff, like working on our house! Sam doesn't watch much with us; sometimes we have a movie on while he's around, but he doesn't pay attention very much. He only has one kids' DVD so far, and I got one out of the library for him once, but don't plan to do that often. We have some Andy Griffith DVDs that he has watched with us a little, and he enjoyed one that had dogs on it, but that was about it. :) Animals and cars are about the only things he really notices on movies. :)

We don't plan to let him watch much when he is older, either. I like the first comment with the idea about the tickets! I could see us doing something like this with Sam later on. Or maybe just a once a week family movie night, or once every couple weeks.

As far as computers, I will definitely want to make sure Sam learns to use one, as I think it will be necessary for him in the future! However, we personally don't want him playing a lot of computer games, or video games either. It seems that most of them are just a big waste of time. (Again, just mine and hubby's personal opinions here . . . I'm sure not everyone feels the way we do. :))

Overall, I just hope we can give our children the same kind of childhood that we had . . . lots of outdoor activity, treehouses, board games, books, & creative projects. I want them to be bright and imaginative, not couch potatoes! :)

1:04 PM, August 07, 2005  

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