Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why I hate television…

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notv

Actually, not really. But I do. It’s really more a love-hate thing.  One moment I’m drooling over sizable flat televisions and the latest and greatest in home sound systems.  The next moment I’m threatening to go Amish in terms of electronics in our home.  I lecture the boys on violent video games, yet I secretly love that Steven Seagal movie (Under Siege 2, in case you were wondering) where the trains run into each other…that must have been awesome on the big screen!

Sometimes television can be educational…I watched Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow as a child.  When we had cable, the most viewed channels were Discovery, History and Food, with Nick Jr, and HGTV coming in close behind.  But even then I feel the costs outweigh the benefits.

So here are the reasons why I hate television:

tv kidis

1. Lack of face time.  When we are facing a screen, we are not facing each other.  The same goes for video games and computer time.

2. It’s a time suck.  We could be spending this time learning new things, enjoying hobbies, visiting with friends and family (see #1).

3. We laugh at behaviors we shouldn’t.  Or accept things. Sex outside of committed relationships, drugs, murder, dishonesty, lack of respect.  These are things we should abhor, but we welcome them into our homes and into our heads, and ultimately our hearts.  Garbage in, garbage out.

4. It is a petri dish of discontentment.  Action, drama, romance, comedy.  Our lives can seem bland by comparison.  Home decorating shows are the worst for me.  My home does not look like those (c’mon, I have five SONS).  A line in Sleepless in Seattle goes something like this “You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.”  Real live isn’t like television, and really, it would be exhausting if it were.

Does this all mean we don’t or won’t have television in our home?  I doubt it.  But I try to be responsible with it.  Sometimes I fail, sometimes I let things slide, but then we just try again.  Here are some ways we are trying to be more responsible with our viewing:

1. Limiting the time and type of shows and movies the children watch.  It is recommended that children watch no more than 2 hours per day (and this is on the high end) and children under the age of two should watch none at all.  Preview movies before they see them. The rating system is a guideline, but each family is different.

2. Watching television with the children.  And talk about what you are viewing.

3. Have TV free times or days.  And plan other activities for these times.  It’s too easy to say “There’s nothing to do, what’s on TV?”  Game nights, reading nights (think blankets, pillows, hot chocolate, and a pile of good books!), go to the park.  We also try to have a “screen-time curfew”.  The artificial lighting and rapid stimulation from television/video games interferes with our bodies natural rhythm.  Turn screens off at least an hour before bedtime, Mom and Dad too!

4. This is very important: COMMUNICATE.  DaddyFoster and I have different view and emotions about television.  United parenting is important to the emotional health of children, and communication is the key to this, in media viewing and so much more.

monopoly-game-night-sl-x

So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I will turn off the screens now, and challenge my sons to another game of cribbage.

 

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The past couple of weeks have been spent in an “I’m-moving-across-the-country-with-5-boys” sort of daze. It is accentuated by the “away-from-everyone-and-everything-I-know” shock. And of course, there is the “I-haven’t-slept-in-my-own-bed-for-9-days” exhaustion. So here we are, our first morning in our new place. We only have on vehicle as our car will not arrive for another 4 or 5 days. We still have some items at the hotel I must retrieve today.
(shameless free advertisement: Of all the places we stayed, Best Western and Red Lion were totally awesome!)
And pretty much everything is still in boxes.
All this to say: if this post makes no sense whatsoever, it can be blamed on the aforementioned maladies.

I am not a perfect parent.  (Duh, obviously!)

I want to be a perfect parent.  I want every decision and action I make to be the best one, the correct one every time.  I wish every snapshot of our lives was glowing and happy and flawless.

On this great caravan across 7 states my thoughts drifted to books I recently read to the boys by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I giggled as I imaged Ma and Pa Ingalls on their journey saying to their sweet children some of the things we have on our trip.

conestoga wagon

“Look out your own side of the wagon!”

“If you don’t speak, there will be nothing for your sibling to copy!”

“If you don’t look at your sibling, you won’t see the faces/rude gestures they are making!”

“Didn’t you just go pee?  Just how small is your bladder, anyway?”

“For the sanity and safety of everyone, please just be quiet!”

It may be the exhaustion, but imagining Ma and Pa uttering some of these (and maybe a few I won’t put down here) made me giggle.  While they may not have said these things, traveling with small children can take a lot out of you, and I am sure this pioneering family was no exception.  Laura may have portrayed her parents as nearly perfect, but I am sure they may have said differently.  But they were good parents.

What is the difference between perfect parents and good parents?

 

A perfect parent knows she is perfect.
A perfect parent never needs help.
A perfect parent always knows what to do and never makes mistakes.
A perfect parent never grows, never changes, never learns.
A perfect parent never makes mistakes, setting the bar impossibly high for her children.
A perfect parent is never truly perfect.

A good parent knows she is not perfect.
A good parent recognizes when she needs help and asks for it.
A good parent struggles over decisions and second guesses.
A good parent makes mistakes and apologizes, thus teaching her children how to make mistakes and make things right.
A good parent is sometimes a little too strict (at least according to my son’s friends).
A good parent is sometimes a little too lax (did I ever tell about the time I let the boys put ice cream on their pancakes?).
A good parent wonders if she is a good parent.

I think I’d rather be a good parent than a perfect one.