When I was a teen, I took a dare from Brother Bytheway and quit watching TV for some time, I think for about a month. Since this was the chief (read: only) form of entertainment available to our family in Blythe, California, it was a bit of a sacrifice for me--but worth it. I found spades of free time opening up for homework and relaxation, and a purity of spirit in my life that had not been present for years. When the month was over, my perspective had changed so much that I didn't care to watch TV as much, and as I got busier socially, there just wasn't time in the day for TV.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe TV is intrinsically evil. Lots of great families have cable or satellite TV with all the trimmings and are able to make it work really well. And there are some amazing channels and programs that I know I would really enjoy. But it takes a lot of effort to strain out the good programming and avoid all the questionable stuff. And the commercials alone are objectionable enough to worry anybody. Plus, I know myself well enough to understand that wasting time in front of the TV would be a temptation to me. Not just relaxing in the evening, but basically watching instead of living.
When we got married, TJ and I couldn't afford cable or satellite, and didn't even bother hooking up the local channels. Over the years we've pretty much stuck to just watching movies, and it's worked for us. I love the absence of TV's noise in our lives, and that we're all in the habit of entertaining ourselves and each other instead of relying on the tube. I love that the kids spend so much time playing with each other, and creating their own adventures every day. And I love that the Spirit of our home isn't polluted by stuff that slips in through the TV when we're not paying close attention.
When we moved to Murray, TJ convinced me that it'd be okay to hook up the local channels, and, honestly, the offerings are so meager that there's no temptation to watch. But just last week, we slid off the slippery slope and hooked up cable so that TJ could watch the BYU games this season.
It's amazing that we've lasted this long, since TJ has worked in the satellite television industry pretty much our whole marriage. The poor guy installs the stuff all day and on the weekends certifies other installers, and he has no satellite dish of his own. So he plans to enjoy the football season like a normal bloke and then cancel our cable in January.
I'm glad we're doing it. TJ does nothing for himself, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him manfully hollering at the excitement of a game. He deserves this. But I'll breathe a little easier when football season ends and we can disconnect the darn thing.