Parents – Turn the TV OFF

Robot (Photo credit: Andy Field (Field Office))

Over the last several years we’ve been bombarded by messages of limiting the amount of TV our children watch, how much time they spend on electronic devices.  It’s gotten to the point where it’s a ceaseless broken record that we tune out.

Oh, we all know it’s bad for the kids, the electronic babysitter should be put out commission!  Unfortunately, due to how much we hear the message, we’ve gotten to a point where we tune it out.  Especially if we are already instituting it.

My kids, for example, know that they are only allowed a certain amount of time on the TV and sometimes, if they want to watch, they have to watch what I pick.  When I pick, it’s not a cartoon (except the anime called Bleach!!!  My favorite!)  I’ve explained to them countless of times that it’s not good for them to watch too much.  I regurgitated the message that was popular when it first started like a good little trained robot.

However, it never once occurred to me the message was should also be directed toward me!

See, even parents can be silly.

I say this because I got into a nasty habit several years ago.  I’d turn on the TV to watch a movie or a show after the kids went to bed.  I justified it in my head by saying that at least I’m not corrupting them and I’m already corrupted so it didn’t matter.  I am also proof that even if you didn’t watch a lot of TV/Movies as a kid, you won’t as an adult to be absolute balderdash.

The irony, cruel as it is, is that while I was watching I complained to myself about not having enough time to write when the solution to my problem was literally staring me in the face.

Let me explain how I came to this realization:


Monday Morning – 

Grocery shopping list
(Photo credit: the Italian voice)

As I was waiting for when we’d have to leave for my son’s bus, I decided to write down all that I want to accomplish for the night and for the week.  The list, like usual, grew longer as the minutes ticked by.  When I stopped and stared at this monstrosity I was again hit with the lament of: “I don’t have enough time to accomplish all of this crap in a week.”

Now, normally I start scratching off stuff that I thought would be impossible to accomplish.  Limiting the list to whatever takes 10 to 15 minutes to optimize what I could get done.  The problem with that is any big projects kept being put off.  You know, like my book and research for self-publishing it.

Instead, I decided haphazardly to try something different.  I wrote at the bottom of the list:

 “Don’t watch TV tonight, instead do research.”


Monday Evening 

A Cisco 7960G IP telephone
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the kids went to bed, I stared at the TV, wondering what I should watch because I needed to relax when I recalled with a start what I wrote down in the morning.

Sighing in frustration, but realizing that I had to do my research, I decided to pull out my trusty pen and paper, armed with a guide book, sat down and began working.  A short while later I put on some music.

Next thing I knew, the phone rang and I looked at the clock to find it was 11 PM.  My kids go to bed no later than 9 PM.  As I answered the phone, wondering who was calling so late, I realized I had written close to 7 pages worth of notes focusing only on a writer’s platform.

WHOA!  Wait a second, back up.  I completed in two hours something I had been trying to accomplish for weeks but ‘couldn’t find the time’????  Must be some type of fluke…


Tuesday Morning

As I wait again for when we leave, I look at my list to find I could scratch off one item, but elaborated on a different item (my blog posting for example).  I also wrote beside the item to work on book two of my series featuring Alex that it was a must do item then promptly traced over the same words I wrote Monday morning with a slight change.

“Don’t watch TV tonight, send fax and write in Crescent Knights.”


Tuesday Evening –

The kids hit the sack after a long day of soccer practice and playing on time for a change.  As they went to bed, I headed up to my office to scan documents and figure out how to send a fax via e-mail (wonderful little invention by the way).  Sent two faxes then went downstairs to eat something when I realized I didn’t eat as much food as I should have.

That’s a topic for another day.

I realized it was starting to get late (took time to do the fax and figure out the e-mail bit because I had to choose the right service for my needs) and that I should go to bed like usual at 11:30 PM.  My migraines demand a regular sleeping schedule…

Yet, I remembered what I wrote that morning and knew if I didn’t do it I’d once again moan into my journal how I don’t have time to write.  After getting a bit of food, poured myself something to drink, sat down on the couch with my laptop.

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I chose to use my laptop instead of my computer in the office because frankly, I spend too much sitting at a desk.  I wanted a different point of view.  Fired it up and thirty minutes later I had 1000 words on the screen and eyes burning with the need to sleep.

Is it my best writing?  Maybe not, but it’s writing and it’s not half bad so I chalk that up to a win.  My point is, I got it done.  Which means it has happened twice in a row.  Twice is a coincidence… can we go for a third time???


Wednesday Morning –

I made the necessary adjustments to my list, but instead of writing my action statement for the night, I wrote this:

“Don’t watch TV during the week, write instead.”


Wednesday Evening –

Which brings me to now.  The kids went to bed late tonight due to grocery shopping and an overlong phone call.  The phone call caused me to be late getting us out the door to buy food for hungry growing people.  Sigh, I still remember the time when feeding them meant being in only one aisle….

Anyway, I’m here on the couch with my laptop, for the same reason as last night, writing a blog post.  Like I planned, which means I can cross it off my list tomorrow morning and make progress.  After I’m done with this, I’m going to pull up Crescent Knights again and put in another 1000 words.

I guess the third time really is the charm in getting something to sink into my thick skull…

English: A child watching TV.
English: A child watching TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what is the moral of this story?  Simple actually, watching TV sucks away time in our lives.  While I appreciate all that actors do to put these wonderful stories on for us, their job makes us lazy.  Don’t get me wrong, being lazy is necessary, but there is a time for it.

We all live busy lives, but imagine if we were to take the two or three hours a day we spend on our rumps watching TV and doing nothing and direct that energy to something else, what could we accomplish?

The message the media goes on about how watching TV is a problem for children should be reworked in my opinion.  Parents received the message about their kids, they are starting to unplug them (I hope).  I wouldn’t get rid of that version of message completely for any new parents out there, but I would say we could lessen the frequency.

Instead, shift it to the parents… hell, don’t stop there, shift it to any adult over the age of 22 (I say that because younger than that probably has their parents voice telling them to get off the TV and go outside to be with their friends still vibrating in their ears – I hope).  Tell us adrenaline deprived, overworked people to unplug and be productive.  Go, clean that sink, or do some laundry.  Don’t play games on the Playstation/Xbox/Wii or whatever platform you have, don’t turn on that channel or put in that movie.

Better yet, tell us to be like our kids for once.

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3 thoughts on “Parents – Turn the TV OFF

  1. Wow! This is important. I don’t watch TV, but this still hit me like a brick. There are other ways to unplug. And you made me realize that I could get more done if I would disconnect for a period of time from the internet every day. Yes, much of my work needs to be done here, but there are projects I could do away from the keyboard, and I need to do that more regularly. THANKS! 😀

    • I know! It’s surprising right? There are so many things in our lives that can probably be classified as more distraction than productive. I do believe that sometimes we need to have a little time to waste it. Whether it is with TV, a movie, a book, or the internet. It’s the weekend right now and I have put on the TV, but most of my time tonight was taken by a phone call and technology.

      I’m glad the post helped you, you’ll have to let me know how successful it is for you. Thanks for reading!

      • Just a quick update: I’d been really plugged in to lots of things, largely because of semester demands and publication deadlines. In the last few days, I’ve had a chance to unplug a bit, and the results are nothing short of amazing. I’ve actually posted a few things about it on my blog–which had been dying while I was so plugged in.

        A good reminder to keep making time for such unplugged moments even when things are crazy. It helps keep the balance. 🙂

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