Thank you so much for “TV: The Great American Time Robber” (Aug. 29-Sept. 4), on the negative impact television has on today's youth.
My husband and I had our cable service disconnected almost two years ago. At the time, our reason for disconnecting the TV was not so much the programs our three children were watching (which we were strictly monitoring), but the commercial advertising every 30 seconds that was full of sexism, promiscuity, consumerism and greed.
We enforced TV hours, yet we found our children “sneaking” TV with the volume down, and then trying to cover up their indiscretion. I also brought to my husband's attention that he was falling into the habit of coming home from work and plopping down to a show regardless of what was going on in the home.
Were our three young sons happy when the TV was gone? No. It took about a week to get a different routine going and to get used to the “silence,” which we have since replaced with classical music. My husband and I did notice an almost immediate change in behavior, attitude and general disposition in all of us. On the weekends, we now go to our local video store and choose a movie or two as a family. The discussions that go on in the video store are irreplaceable teachable moments. Sometimes we choose a movie and then read the book, or vice versa. We are teaching our children to be informed decision-makers, critical thinkers and, most importantly, godly members of their community.
Friends and family members constantly scrutinize our decision to be TV-free, and when they hear our rationale, some say they would love to do the same. We know it takes courage and commitment to stand up to the pressures of the world.
If living without TV is difficult to fathom for some, then something is wrong. Why not subscribe to magazines and newspapers instead of paying a cable bill? Read with your children. Choose articles to discuss at mealtimes. Learn to play games as a family. Take walks. Talk. Discuss the day's events. Provide your children with projects to accomplish. The ideas for TV replacement are endless.
As a Christian mom who works tirelessly to undo the damage done through the school and social settings, I absolutely believe television is one of the most dangerous impacts Satan can make on today's family. How easy we make it for him to come right into the very homes we work so hard to protect from outside worldliness — our private domains. How easy we make it for him to entertain the masses and to put messages of sin into unsuspecting minds.
TRICIA M. PIPER
- November 14-20, 2004