February 25, 2012

The Influence You May Not Want In Your Home

I understand Lent is upon us.  Our family does not observe this season, per se.  We try to focus on living every day for Christ always remembering what He has done for us and the reason we love Him.  I tend to shy away from different things which were part of my Catholic upbringing, where observation of Ash Wednesday, Lent, the Stations etc... were just one more thing in the long list of items to do in order to get in God's favor for entrance to Heaven.  However, I see nothing wrong with taking part in this time of reflection and fasting to draw closer to the Lord, if one does it because they love the Lord and want to have a deeper relationship with Him.  

Anyway, that's a little side note.  ☺

With all that said... I am hearing about what everyone is doing for Lent.  How exciting to see so many people really setting aside time to focus on growing their walk with the Lord.  One friend is giving up television.  I am really proud of her.  She lives alone and television is a way for her to have company in the quiet evening hours at home through the dark winter months.  Giving up television is not just giving up mindless entertainment but giving up her companionship.

Talking with her about this got me thinking again about the damaging influence of television in the home.

Now, let me climb onto my television soap box and say I can not believe that Christians still have television in their homes!  Especially, those with impressionable children at home.  I mean really let's face it.  What is on the television that is really worth your time these days????  Oh, I know, the home improvement shows and the cooking channel are pretty nifty.  But, are they really improving your life and work for the Lord enough to justify the time you spend watching?  And even if the answer is yes, is it worth the risk of having such a negative influence in your home as all the other programs present?

We know Christian parents who would not allow their children to go into a bar, but will allow them to watch programs and advertisements that glorify drinking.  They tell their children about the importance of purity but allow them to watch programs and advertising which glorify premarital sex, adultery and fornication.  They teach their children to guard their hearts but allow them to watch programs that give the opposite message.  We would not allow our children to walk among people we consider to be poor examples, but we invite these very people into our homes through the big box we call television.

If that is not enough to convince you to consider turning off the television in your home, what about this?  What else could you be doing with that time?  If your family spends every evening in front of the television, what else are you missing out on?  What great blessings could you have if you pushed that off button and interacted with each other for an hour or two after dinner.  Reading the Bible, playing a game, doing crafts, chit chatting, learning something new together, playing your instruments for each other, singing together... the list goes on and on...  Unlike most of us, my friend is in the position of living alone and television is her companion.  How she would love to have a family at home to occupy her evenings.  Yet, how many homes are filled with a dad and mom and children who all go to their separate corners to watch television in the evenings.

So when my friend said she wanted to give up television for Lent, she asked us to pray she would have the strength to do this.  We have indeed been praying for this request.  To encourage our dear friend, we went one step further and drew up a list of fun activities to fill the evenings.

Allen said you aren't married so there goes number one. :-)
2. Write your nieces and nephews
3. Cross stitch, sewing, knitting, crochet, needlepoint
4. Craft anything
5. Retail therapy (shopping)
6. Read
7. Baking (you could take it to neighbors... great outreach opportunity)
8. Drawing or painting
9. Play with pets
10. Practice piano or some other instrument
11. Volunteer (library, nursing home, hospital)
12. Replace tv with audio books, audio bible, christian radio, preaching cds, christian music for company and background noise and entertainment.
13. Paint your nails. Better yet, go to a nursing home and paint other peoples nails.
14. Start a Bible study with other ladies
15. Go to bed earlier... mom will be jealous
16. Bible reading
17. Bible study
18. Read the Bible through in a month
19. Be discipled
20. Disciple someone else
21. Get out in the neighborhood and share the gospel

Today, I challenge each of you to turn off your television for a week and fill those wasted hours with some family bonding time.  After just seven days, I am willing to bet you will wish you had done it a long time ago.  Let me know if you have decided to give it a go and our family will be praying for you.  Let us know what else you would add to this list.

A few other tidbits to encourage you, keep a notebook where you jot down what you like about having the television off.  When you feel tempted to turn it back on, consult that list.  My friend sent me a text on the first evening and said she was amazed at how much she got done in one evening without television.  Big plus, there for us who are always pressed for time.

Think about how much money you could save by turning off the cable or satellite.  Use the extra money to save for something special.  Or perhaps treat the family to some pizza for a family game night once a month?  Better yet, put it in that vacation jar and when you are walking on the beach this summer ask yourself which was better?

Have you already done away with television?  Do let me know how that has worked for your family.




  1. We've never had tv in our home. We do check out movies from the library and have our own dvds that we watch from time to time. We have noticed lately that we have turned to movies more that we used to, so we actually took the tv and dvd player out of the house for a season. We didn't even realize it was lent (until I looked at the calendar) so our decision has nothing to do with that; we don't observe it either. We just saw some things happening in our family that wasn't there before and realized it was the influence of "good, wholesome, family" movies. So our tv/dvd player is in storage and now we are finding other things to do as a family. One was going ice skating with friends yesterday. (Not me and baby, though, we got to stay home alone). We are looking forward to doing alternative things as a family. I like your list and it has given me a few more ideas to put on our list. :)

  2. Great post. We haven't had TV since we were married. Like Jen we get DVD's from the library. However I find it is easy to get carried away with watching those as well, so I am taking them out less often.

    Even with so-called 'children's movies' you have to be careful- my husband and I have watched some recently that I do NOT think are appropiate for children! They always have some crude humour, disrespectful children, bad attitudes etc. If/when we allow our children to watch movies they will be classies that we have already previewed.