The relationship between me and my TV has had its ups and downs, over the years. Sometimes, it has been my best friend - almost a lifesaver;-). At others, it has been the big, flat monster that seems to mock at any attempt of mine to release my poor, naive children from the power of its hypnotic, mind-numbing grip.
There have been moments, when I have seriously considered a life without television. I have longed for the peaceful solitude of quiet days, undisturbed by the intrusion of modern gadgets or the strange, big world, beyond the little haven I have built up for my family. But, then, I have wondered what I am afraid of. Do I think God will abandon us to become worldly, atheistic zombies, if we dare to watch our TV in moderation and with prayerful discernment?
I understand that there are problems associated with the excessive and indiscriminate watching of television and I agree that viewing is a passive occupation which can subtly, but significantly, alter both our thought processes and our perceptions of the world. I see that it can, also, intrude upon relationships and become a substitute for more creative pursuits or real-life experiences.
But, as for the times when we view television as a useful tool and, even, the odd occasions when, exhausted and flustered, we fall back on 'babysitting' television - are we really harming ourselves and our families? Within a loving home, is there really any danger of long term damage? And, if we decide that TV truly is becoming a problem, are we really so powerless that we can't just go and flick the off button, when it's necessary?
Bearing in mind that there is such a thing as quality viewing, I decided to see if I could think of 10 good reasons to watch television. Here's what I came up with:
1. TV can introduce our children to new places and cultures that they have no opportunity of visiting, right now.
2. It can stimulate new ideas and creativity, teaching new skills, and bringing an awareness of and an appreciation for the gifts of others.
3. TV can provide the opportunity to view quality productions in the arts, where attending a live performance may not be possible.
4. Documentaries are a source of knowledge and information which are readily accessible and easily assimilated by children, through television.
5. Television can enrich the experience of good literature by providing a visual extension to the reading.
6. It can lead to good reading when an adaptation of literature is viewed first and a child's interests are subsequently stimulated by what they read.
7. It can keep one abreast of world events and connected to the world at large, from the safety of one's own home.
8. TV can stimulate discussion, and be the source of intelligent conversation and analytical thinking.
9. Watching TV can be relaxing, when stressed, and provide mothers with a some respite when they really need it.
10. It can provide the opportunity for wholesome fun and entertainment, when families choose to watch a special show or movie together.
11. There might be a chance that the doom-and-gloom predictions of, even moderate, TV viewing by children just may be a tad exaggerated. (Some years ago, we had a toddler daughter with a seriously worrying TV addiction. This girl lived for Hi-Five, from morning till night - no exaggeration, she was excessive! Today, she is a perfectly normal, creative 8 year old who prefers swimming, craft, reading and outdoor play with her friends to sitting in front of the TV.)
(Oops - that's 11, not 10! Well, I can't blame the oversight on mind-numbing TV, as I myself very rarely watch it!)
And, to sum up, do I agree with all that's on my list? Hmmm, perhaps, not all of it - or, not entirely... But, then, maybe, I do... Well, possibly, I do, at the moment...
In actual fact, it's of no consequence. I continue to live, pray and frequent the Sacraments, and slowly, silently and surely, God continues to remove from my life any negative, little influences that hinder my progress towards Heaven.
So, television - friend or foe? I'll trust in the Lord to decide.
Friday, March 23, 2012
10 Good Reasons to Watch Television