*Note: Every home and situation is unique, so what works for me may not work for you! These are my personal thoughts and experiences, and they are not meant to induce guilt or provide a template for life. They are meant to get you thinking!
A few months ago, my husband and I moved our family from a postage stamp lot in suburban St. Louis to a newly-renovated home.
This new home is on land, by a private lake, near a small town, in rural Missouri.
During the renovation we stayed with my parents. We had our own separate living area with our own separate TV. During that time, I let my kids watch it quite a bit every day because, honestly, it was a good way to keep them out of trouble. In the evenings my husband and I would turn on HGTV, etc.
My dad also enjoys politics, so all this was in addition to the news channel that was often playing in the background throughout the day.
What I found was this:
1. I found that my kids would ask to watch cartoons often. If I refused, someone was probably going to throw a fit. The ingratitude and entitlement I saw were alarming.
2. If one of my children were happily engrossed in creative play, at the mention of TV by another child, the first one would instantly lose interest in her activity.
3. TV was an easy babysitter for me, and I was using it too much.
4. I found that when the TV was on in the evenings, I would watch it even if I didn’t really care about the show. In my tiredness, it was hypnotic.
5. When the TV was on in the evenings I would not be productive with my time, and I would usually stay up too late.
6. TV led my husband, children and I to be more idle, and I couldn’t see what we were gaining from it.
7. National news channels highlighted the ugliness, division and hatred in our country. Because I am a sensitive person, this stressed me out. (I can pray for our president and nation without knowing all the gory details.)
8. False worldviews and strategic agendas are rampantly streaming across our televisions (even disguised in the most innocent of packages). It’s a lot to sift through!
I also considered the temporary nature of TV watching. Although good can come from it if we are pointed back to Christ, driven to prayer, or equipped in some way, overall, it is momentary pleasure. It is about being entertained for hours, that add up into days, that add up into weeks, that add up into months or more of our brief lives on this earth.
TV is not necessarily bad (although it certainly can be), it’s just really… temporary. It can be fun or even helpful, but at the end of our lives, we will probably have little to show for all that time spent.
As I examined myself and these observations, I realized that some of my own behaviors weren’t adding up.
I chose to homeschool my kids so we could spend more intentional time together, and yet I was content with allowing them to watch TV to get away from them.
I put TV on for my kids during the day so I could get work done or take a nap, and then when they went to bed, I watched television.
As much as I love winding down to an episode of Fixer Upper, even Chip and Jo don’t own a TV!
All these thoughts percolated until one day, I hit my limit. I couldn’t wait another moment to tell my husband, so I hastily fired text messages at him in the midst of his full-time home-remodeling responsibilities.
And then, crickets.
No response all day. That pretty much confirmed my suspicion that this was not going to happen. But then again, it’s not really the sort of thing you decide in a text message.
That evening he opened up the conversation. By this point, I wanted the stillness and accountability almost desperately, but I didn’t see how he would agree. After he heard me out, he dropped this bombshell,
“I was never going to put up a TV in our new house.”
He explained that, in his mind, there was simply no good place to mount a TV. He also said that he agreed with me. So it was decided. And two months ago, we started our new life together in our quiet, country house.
How it’s going now, two months later
There’s not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t soar with gratitude that I have the opportunity to live this simple, peaceful, not-so-overstimulated, not-so-idle life. I feel like my home is a sweet oasis. I am so thankful that my husband and I were unified in this significant life-style change.
And the kids?
Well, the kids never really questioned it. They are little (ages 6, 4 and 2), and it was their understanding that the new house simply didn’t come with a TV. Since it wasn’t an option, they adapted almost instantly with no complaining. Ha!
I think they felt a little lost at first. They had to relearn patterns and expectations about how their day would go. However, after two months, they do not miss it one bit. (As far as I can tell that is. If asked, they would probably say differently).
Now TV is a special treat for grandma and grandpa’s house. We have even had a couple of special movie nights where the kids drag their little chairs into the office and watch something on dad’s computer. We’re averaging about one per month.
Overall, we fell into new rhythms quite easily and quickly.
In the afternoon, instead of TV, my kids read and play quietly in their rooms. This is our daily rhythm, and it provides me the space I need to get some writing done.
In the evenings, I watch the sunset over our lake with my Bible and a cup of tea, or sit up talking and dreaming with my husband, or maybe I get some work done, or go to bed early. How about that for an idea?
Yes, my kids are with me more throughout the day. And yes, they require more work to keep up with now. But I’m not pregnant. I don’t have an infant. I’m healthy, and I have more support than ever with my husband working from home. There is constant activity, so I don’t struggle with loneliness or boredom.
I’m grateful that I get to live a life that feels ever-so-much-more intentional to me.
Now, in our home, there is more quiet, more rest, more books, more intentionality, more music, more discipleship, more time outside, and more self-discipline.
If you ask me, it’s pretty great!
Are you longing for a simpler, deeper, richer life?
I believe it all begins and ends with perspective (okay, with Jesus). I’d love to walk you through the very scriptures that utterly changed my life and taught me to set my heart on heaven and fix my eyes on Him.
So, I’ve complied these into a free, quick-reference, 30-day scripture writing plan!
The practice of simply writing scripture helps us to focus our hearts and minds and interact with God’s word in a tangible way. It is incredibly simple, yet profoundly helpful when you’re feeling scattered.
Get it below!