TV Rebel

by Jen on March 31, 2006

By Leah Higginbotham

Every evening, Dylan and I sat together, hand in hand, watching and reciting the Seinfeld episode we’d seen at least eleven times by now.

The cool glow of the television washed over us, transfixing our minds and erasing all competing thoughts in one flicker. It was our comforting, secure little ritual. There is so little you can really depend on in life. But Fox news at nine, then The Simpsons, then Seinfeld, then MASH, then The Daily Show – these things were sure. You could count on them night after night after night after night. And when the President gave an address or “Breaking News” interrupted our reruns – outrage! Every evening, Dylan and I sat together, hand in hand, watching and reciting the Seinfeld episode we’d seen at least eleven times by now. “I’m so tired, but the Daily Show is on in a few minutes. Just a few minutes more….just a few min….ahhhh, TeeeeVeeeeeeeeee…..”

“ENOUGH!” we shouted and yanked the television set from is umbilical cord gripping greedily to the cable socket. The TV went on an old rolling microwave cart and rolled right into the closet. We turned the couch around so it actually faced other chairs where other real live humans could actually sit and actually talk to us. In this arrangement, it took a good 30 minutes to set up for TV watching, so it required some serious thought. It was cold turkey. Goodbye glow.

The first week or so brought on waves of serious withdrawal, especially for a stay at home mom. How can I possibly live without knowing the “After” of Trading Spaces? My eyes grew wild, and winced when pierced with natural light. When Dylan arrived at our tiny apartment from school, we talked. TALKED! At first it seemed robotic and unnatural:

“How was your day?”
“I don’t know, how was your day?”
“Was your day good?”
“Well, how was your day?”

We had to find something, anything, to replace that flood of over stimulation that once flowed into our brains. It took work and thinking. Sheesh. I began reading. Yes! I knew how to read! Two or three books a month: biographies, fiction, classics, how-to, and my new found love of nutrition. I re-acclimated myself to the outdoors. Suddenly, parks and ducks and museums started springing up before my eyes. We began to go out and do all the things that the people on TV were always doing!

That was almost 2 years ago. My challenge today is to keep up with a very curious and active three year old. Oh, how many times I hear, “Mom, can I watch a movie?” Kids love TV! And it’s so easy to give into them that I have devised a schedule for my own sanity:

Monday is Outing Day (parks, museums, zoo, etc.)
Tuesday is Cooking Day (easy, hands on recipes)
Wednesday is Craft Day (egg carton caterpillars, magic wands, play dough)
Thursday is Library Day
Friday is Movie Day
Saturday is Cleaning Day
Sunday is Church and Family Day

Now, when asked that fateful question, I can say, “Friday is Movie Day, today is Wednesday. Let’s make something fun.” Naturally, the Portland weather causes us to switch days up a little, and we attend Library activities every chance we get. But I now have a (mostly) well tempered three year old with an incredible imagination because the thinking is not being done for her. Dylan even said, “Our lives have improved 300% since we turned off the TV.” It’s true! We’re so happy to just sit on the couch, reading and talking with each other, while our kids get out everything they can find and spread it around the house happily. Life is great.

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under 2? Did you also know that more than 30% of kids have a TV in their bedroom! Yikes! My challenge to you, dear reader, is to turn off the TV. My mom has one week a month deemed “NO TV WEEK”. Even if it’s just for one day a week, turn it off and do something. ‘Tis far worse to miss out on life than to miss out on TV.

Leah Higginbotham rocks. She does pretty much everything but eat cauliflower. She’s mother of two of the cutest kids in existence. If you don’t believe me visit www.higgfarm.com.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Miranda W. April 3, 2006 at 6:54 am

That’s my sister! And she’s right! Since I moved away from home, I’ve decided to watch no more tv either. It’s really nice to talk to my sister and have a conversation instead of “Did you see American Idol? Can you believe it?” I’ve been a lot happier and more active. I’ve really realized how useless that box is. I don’t even watch movies anymore.

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Tricia M. April 3, 2006 at 2:50 pm

My family also puts TV off for a certain day. We chose Sunday because we know we will all be there for dinner and that is when we watch. Unfortunatly, the rest of the week is not like your. I really want to try it though! This artical really helps me! Thank you!

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cathy April 4, 2006 at 7:28 am

My mom threw out the TV long before I was born, so I grew up without it. Until I was about 10, it was this huge novelty to me, and I loved watching TV at friends and grandparents houses, but since then (I’m now 16) TV has completely lost its appeal. I just don’t have time for it! Instead, I write poetry, practice violin at least 3 hours a day, take 18 different subjects at school, and make jewlery and paint with watercolors. I never would have discovered how much fun these other activities are if I had grown up with TV.

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