Saturday, June 1, 2013

No TV

Are you ready for this?

We do not own a TV. I haven't watched TV at home since my sophomore year in college. I own many movies and up until recently we had a TV that was hooked up only to the DVD/VHS (I still have VHS- gotta keep those Disney movies pristine people!) so we could watch a film from time to time. 

Instead of watching TV you could play Frisbee
I love watching movies. The intentionality of choosing a film to absorb and sitting down with someone you love to share it is a gift I cherish. I used to watch movies with my Dad. We'd really get into them. I have always gotten emotionally invested in movies which means I have had to choose them wisely.I do let them sink in and affect me. I really believe that when you expose yourself to media you are letting it in. It does collide with your soul somehow. It does change you even in a small way. Anything you come in contact with should. For that reason, I enjoy watching movies that inspire me, make me laugh, trigger my imagination, or simply challenge me in some way.

Instead of watching TV you could do the Macarena in your living room
I do not enjoy watching TV. It struck me in college that my friends and family all seemed to turn on the TV at every whim like a compulsion. Perhaps they felt lonely for a moment or maybe they were unsettled by the sudden silence that fell when a roommate left the building. Who knows where it begins, but I think we all get a little too trigger happy when it comes to Television. It's like the TV has become our friend but behind the comfort of that familiar buzz and the flicker of that screen, there is a darkness pulling us out of the present moment.

I am not bashing TV time. I think there are some valuable shows out there. Television is a great tool for learning and sharing information but like all things, it can be overdone.

It is hard to watch my loved ones become weighed down by dreadful news that is blasted across America endlessly on every news station. It is sad to think of all the time that was wasted watching commercial after commercial or flicking through the channels never finding quite what you were looking for. To me, this behavior rips us from the present and blinds us from God's moment to moment provision.

I try not to regret much, but I would like to have back all the moments I spent channel surfing growing up. I would take back all the episodes of Jerry Springer that I sneaked and watched. I'd take back all the reruns I sat through two or three times. I really believe that I can track the years of my life where I have experienced the most transformational growth (body, mind, spirit), it comes as no surprise they fall directly in line with getting rid of my TV.


Instead of watching TV you could do cool things on a pole
Think about it, how would your daily experience change if you had no TV? What would you do with that time? I know what I have done with it. I make dinners, long, creative meals. I eat them really slowly and sit and talk with Joel for as long as possible. Then we keep on talking while we clean up. Sometimes, we will go for walks, paint, run, hangout with friends, write music, call our grandparents, grab a beer, but mostly, we just talk to each other. Someone asked Joel what he does instead of watching TV and I was tickled by his answer. He said, "I talk to my wife." It is so simple and true. I know we have a better marriage because of it.

There are rare moments when I sense I have missed some important political event due to not having a TV, but I am usually no more than a half day behind before someone reveals the situation to me and I can look the details up for myself. The truth is, that none of us would miss much at all if we chucked our TV's out the window right now. Most of us would be relieved if we did. 

It has been said that the greatest expression of love is time. If you believe this to be true, how much love have you dedicated to watching TV?

How would your life change if you channeled all that time, all that love, somewhere else in your daily experience?  

I dare you to turn your TV off for an entire week of your normal routine and watch what happens.  

The photos provided were taken in 2004 on a visit to our family friends in England, incidentally they are now my in-laws since my sister married one of their sons. They are the first family I had ever encountered who did not have a TV. They, in fact, have NEVER owned a TV. As a kid, I thought this was insanity. As an adult, I say "respect".