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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Media-Centered Home

The television that I have had since I was about 12 years old is the same one that hubby and I have used for the past 5 years. Despite the fact the we occasionally had to give the side of it a good whack in order to avoid uncontrollable static, the thing held up pretty well. Nevertheless, a little over a week ago it took it's last whack and went out altogether.
In all honesty, I'm not upset about this. In fact, I'm actually a little relieved because I was working to "demediaize" (ahem...yes, I made that word up) our family anyway.

We are commanded to "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).  Nevertheless, "Wherever we look, technology blasts us with the world's values, attitudes, and false definitions of reality. The popular media lie to us about the nature of goodness, truth, and beauty. They offer counterfeit versions of what a family is supposed to look like, what romance is, what success is all about, and where we should spend our money" (Joshua Harris in Media Discernment 101).

My desire for our family is that instead of spending endless hours watching, lusting after, or thinking like "the world" that we will spend more time acting, seeking after, and thinking like God. I think that this is true for most Christians families. However, there is some real work and real sacrifice involved in achieving it that doesn't come easy for most of us. In order to do this we must be willing to take the necessary steps in order to create a home-life that is not  "media-centered" but "word-centered."

In Media Discernment 101, Joshua Harris writes, "...consider changing the setup of your home so that entertainment technology, particularly television, is neither omni-present nor central. Let's not allow movie and television watching to become our default free-time activities. You may also wish to abstain periodically from different forms of media in order to test their influence on your life and increase your focus on God." I'll admit that whenever I am extremely busy or tired, my first inclination is to "pop" a movie in for my children to watch or to let them spend entirely too much time in front of the television watching cartoons. Sometimes after a couple of hours it seems like they start acting like cartoons!

However, without a television to use as a "crutch" I am more likely to have my children do something more productive during those times. For example, since the television broke, I have been more inclined to have them do chores, "read" books, and to use their imagination while playing. I find that I am much more likely to go for a walk, talk, sing, play, teach, discipline, hug, kiss, and laugh with my children during the day. Automatically, I realize that there becomes a larger emphasis put on God and His word because I use that time to testify and sing songs of praise to God with my children while we do other things. 

In essence, the lack of television lends itself to my doing more to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:6-8 which says, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." 

I'm not saying that all media is evil or that we may not get a television in the future; however, I do hope to keep our viewing time to a minimum. Not only does it limit the amount of "worldly" influence coming through our home, but it also causes us to put more of an emphasis on relationship with God and each other. As I look down the line to 10 or 15 years from now, I think this will have been a vital part in becoming the godly, close-knit family I hope we will be.


  1. I wrote a post similar to this on my blog...

    GREAT Post!!

  2. We have one small TV in our house, and it's usually playing music. =)

  3. Maybe we'll have to try a movie-fast sometime soon. I agree - if I'm out of sorts or tired, I'll pop a movie in pretty quick. This morning, Jenny asked if they could dance, so I turned the stereo on with Raffi and two Veggie Tales CDs - and an hour later, they're still happily playing with the music in the background, rather than asking for movies. When I was sick so much earlier this year, I was very thankful for our movie collection, though - because I could put a movie on, lie down on the couch with the kids and trust them to stay there while I slept. We have a compromise on media, I guess - we don't have TV, only movies (and lots of them) and our kids only watch Disney type movies, Veggie Tales or DVDs of kids TV shows that we feel are appropriate for them. I know that I start to feel weird, though, when I watch too many movies in a week - one of these days we'll have to try going a week without any. It's honestly a bit scary, but I think it would be great for the kids.

  4. We spent many years without a television. Our kids didn't even have a video game system. People at church thought we were weird. Other kids would talk to my kids about a popular TV show or something and my kids would just be like "huh?"
    We spent so much precious time together. Someone told us about "Sky Angel and gave us a TV. That same family gave my kids a playstation or atari or something like that.
    When I kids were small, I was determined not to let the TV raise them. My mom raised me on The Young and the Restless, Another World and Days of Our Lives.
    BTW.....I saw in a tabloid soap opera type of magazine that Ms Chancelor died and came back to life again. Well that same thing happened on YATR when I was younger. (I know that was totally off subject.) Heehee!

  5. Great post!!! The Lord has been dealing with me about turning off the television. I pray that by the time my daughter is of age that we will have access to an array of activities that stimulate both mind and body. This is a very timely post.....thanx for sharing.

  6. Every word you wrote here is completely true. Tried and true for sure in our home. I actually love it when the tv goes out and even during bad weather when the internet goes down. Just wish I had what it takes to throw it all away. Then there is no choice but spending time with dear ones.

  7. I love your blog! Thanks for visiting me and joining mine.

    I got tears in my eyes looking at the Bible verse on the hand in your header.

    I totally agree about media. Several years ago God really got my attention about this. It's sounds very weird, but He hid both of our TV remotes for a month. We couldn't find either one no matter how hard we looked. I took that as a clear message to think about the way our family was using TV and other media. Then one day about a month later, both our TV remotes just appeared within a few hours of each other in very obvious places we had searched many times before.

    We have so much fun playing board games or listening to my husband play guitar in the evenings. Sometimes we'll light a fire in the backyard and roast marshmallows and just be together. Mush better than TV.


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