Every now and then, our family takes a week off from TV.
It’s not a major sacrifice. We don’t have cable or satellite and barely ever watch broadcast channels. For years, we relied on Netflix, but we’ve even cut that. We have DVDs and occasionally borrow something from the library or a Redbox machine. We play a lot of Mario Kart Wii as a family. Nothing we watch has commercials, so on the rare occasions when we see one, we’re almost a bit confused by the interruption. Even so, we sometimes plop down more by habit than by choice.
I also have to admit that these TV fasts haven’t all been totally voluntary. For a while, we had only hand-me-down TVs that were on their last legs when we got them. Every few months, a flash and a pop would indicate that something expensive or irreparable had broken inside, and we’d go without until we could find a replacement. That took six months one time. The first new TV we bought hadn’t lasted long, either, though; a bit of roughhousing led to something airborne and a big, hideous spider crack. It was a great chance to teach the kids about natural consequences, grace, and self-control (theirs and ours); we have to look on the bright side of these things.
Well, Tracy and I recently decided to have another no-TV week. The kids haven’t broken the TV or been watching it too much again (they’ve mostly learned not to trigger a TV fast by overindulging), but it’s good to remind them. This time, though, Tracy challenged me to expand it. To ourselves. A total media fast: no screens week. No TV, of course, but also no web surfing, no social media, no phone apps, and no email. No updating the blog.
The fact that I resisted (eventually) convinced me that she was right. For myself, I’ve added “no working on the computer at all.” There are plenty of other things I need to do for our missionary work, including assigned reading. I’m allowing myself to use my phone for phone calls and the calendar, but that’s it. I notified our missionary appointee coordinator, told him to call me if anything comes up that warrants an exception, and got his blessing.
I did get a bit nervous about making sure a presentation is ready for Oct. 12 at the church across from where I used to teach. I felt silly when I remembered that they want us to speak to their youth group about courage, which I would clearly be lacking if I couldn’t face a week without screens.
When the kids step off the bus, the timer begins. That gives me about twenty more minutes to get ready for a week of work without my primary tool… Say a prayer for me!