There are lots of families that don’t watch television.
Mine is not one of them.
To be fair, we don’t watch TV all day long. But I definitely appreciate the fact that Conlan can get up and turn on PBS Kids by himself on Saturday mornings without disturbing my sleep. Or that I can put on Cars and give myself a reprieve from children after a long, tiring day, or indulge myself in a little mindless entertainment while I relax on the couch. And even if we’re not watching a specific show, the television is usually on in the evenings, kind of like a constant companion to fill the silence.
It’s on even when there’s nothing on.
And even when there’s nothing on I get sucked in. What is this inexplicable draw to the television set? It’s like one of those bug zappers that draw you closer and closer and then pull the life out of you. If the TV is on, I feel like I need to be in the living room with it.
I guess I’m afraid my companion will get lonely.
I find something to do in the living room. Maybe I do some writing on the computer. Maybe I fold laundry on the couch. Maybe I pick up the never-ending explosion of toys on the floor.
But only in the living room. The rest of house gets ignored.
The reality is that there are lots of hours in the day that go unused or are used poorly. And they’re not all the television’s fault, but it certainly doesn’t help.
A few years ago my husband proposed an idea. We would be TV-free for the month of August. It took a little getting used to, but after a few days it was painless. Suddenly, those evening hours became productive ones. I did housework, food prep, cleaning, and all those things I couldn’t do in the living room in front of the TV. Even those living room projects (writing, laundry, and toy pick-up) got done more quickly and efficiently without the constant bug-zapper distraction. We spent more time connecting as a family instead of just sitting around next to each other. My son found ways to fill the time and use his imagination.
We enjoyed TV-free August so much that we’ve done it every year since – and we’re doing it again this year.
And this time, I’d like to invite you to join me. Who will join me for TV-free August? What do you hope you’ll get done with your newly found and efficiently used hours? Will you use them for family togetherness, service projects, housework, or just quiet refreshment?
My family isn’t ready to commit to being TV-free full-time. But we’ve found that we can absolutely commit to one month out of the year. Who’s with us?