Christian Living


Mommy and the Joyful Three 02/08/11

Turning Off the Television

It’s amazing how when you open your life to God’s direction He brings to light issues that were once not so clear. One He has been speaking to me about is what I have allowed my family to watch.

Relatively speaking, my children do not watch a lot of television. We cut back when I noticed my oldest daughter mimicking one of her favorite television characters who was violent. She is now only allowed to watch television a few hours a week and only with my husband or I with her to monitor the content.

It is great to turn off the television and limit the impact that the media has on your child. But, parents should also limit our viewing of television and what we allow ourselves to view. We cannot be effective in limiting our children's exposure if we do not limit ourselves.

Plus, today’s television has created humor out of disrespect and entertainment out of sin. The laugh line is focused on the parents looking meek and unable to control their children. On some shows, the teen or child runs the home, not the parents. And it is shocking how mothers and fathers are portrayed, accepting their children's insolence and immoral behavior.

Why are we literally watching the American family deteriorate before our eyes on a TV screen in our living room?

It’s almost as if we’ve stopped trying to set up boundaries and have forgotten spiritual standards. We cannot rely on ratings or parental controls; we must counter these influences with prayer, spiritual guidance, and discussion with our children.

To do this, we, as parents and adults, need to limit what we watch. I have been guilty of watching unacceptable television programs in the past. I figured it was perfectly fine for me because I know what God says about what I was seeing and I wouldn’t be influenced by it. God has really opened my eyes to regulate what I watch.

What some call entertainment, the Bible calls sin. The more we expose ourselves to this, even as adults, the more we are going to start accepting this sin as commonplace. Guard your heart and family, and seek God before you look for that remote.

Alternatives to the Nightly Lineup

Game night

This is a great way to spend time together as family or even just with your spouse. You can buy a board game everyone likes playing or make up your own family game.

Read a good book

This is always a nice alternative for adults and children. I loved being read to as a child. A long book that can be read over time can become a fun nightly tradition. Find a wonderful series to go through, such as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Take turns reading aloud and discuss the book when you are done reading for the night. Your children will soon become as fond of these characters as the ones they see on television and this promotes imagination and creativity.

Rent a movie

If you are still seeking entertainment in the form of television, rent a movie. There are plenty of movies with uplifting messages. Make it a weekly tradition to have movie night. We do this on Fridays with our kids and they really look forward to it. Don’t always pick the newer movies; my children love the classics. You can even develop a theme around movie night. If you are watching a Western, make snacks that fit the movie, wear Cowboy hats.

For great movie reviews and entertainment suggestions, go to CBN.com’s Movie section.

Craft and create

We do a craft night every Monday. This is a great way to spend quality time together. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple crafts that the kids can really create themselves are the most fun.

Have suitable shows on hand

These days it is not hard to find appropriate shows on DVD or online. Having this collection of kid-friendly TV shows will allow you to have the right kind of entertainment for your child on a rainy day without commercials. A great option is the Superbook series.

Ultimately, God wants our focus to be on Him. He wants our families to be godly, not what is represented on television.

What are some of the fun, non-TV-watching ways you spend time with your family?
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