Sunday, March 14, 2010

Making it Count

"There aren't enough hours in the day." "Where does the time go?" How often have you found yourself asking these questions, and others like them? If you're anything like me, than your answer is probably, "Way too often!" Have you, like me, wondered, "How can I reclaim my time? How can I make it count for something bigger, better, more significant? Is there a way I can SLOW down and BREATHE and just BE?" There are many things that fill our days that we may not have a great deal of control over. But I set out on an adventure about 9 months ago to reclaim as many of the wasted, tired, frivolous moments in my days that I could. Ya know what I found? There are literally HOURS there for the taking. You heard me! Hours! And many of them may be found in a place you shudder to acknowledge... In the time we spend in front of the TELEVISION. It is a well-known fact that Americans, as a whole, spend far too much time in front of the television. I know, I know, you've heard it before. But TV is your "downtime," your time to "take a break!" It's the time you take for yourself to "relax" and "unwind from the day." I know! I can SO relate! The aforementioned adventure that began 9 months ago? Well, suffice it to say that the first 2 months of it were spent ignoring the little voice crying out what I already knew deep down inside; The time I spent in front of the television could be much better spent doing other things.
Those of you with kids would probably agree with me that being a parent makes you take a good, hard look at yourself;
who you are, what you are modeling, what you hope to become. And you look at those little ones and realize all too vividly that these days we take for granted will be gone in a blink. And so the question begs to be answered. "Am I making these days count?" I want to squeeze as much joy, warmth, togetherness, fun, and sharing out of them as I can. And so it was that my TV Hiatus began. And let me just tell you, it showed me so much more that I ever anticipated!
I really don't think that I ever watched that much television to being with, but what I didn't realize was how much the TV was just "On." I never stopped to think about how I, in a way, relied on the "noise." And most importantly, I didn't realize how much I struggled with the sound of silence. And so, through the days and weeks and months that followed, I weaned myself from a companion that I didn't even know I relied on. At first it was hard. I replaced the noise of the TV with radio noise. Uplifting music and commentary from our local Family Life Network streamed through my computer or from our living room stereo almost constantly. I learned, the girls and I danced and sang, we worshiped together. And when Mike came home he joined us! It's been a lot of fun! Little by little, I've weaned us from the radio noise, and now, I turn it on only periodically. And ya know what? The silence has been liberating. The days seem a bit slower now, calmer, more peaceful. We spend most evenings around the kitchen table or on the living room floor, creating, playing, reading, talking, tickling, laughing, discussing. The girls don't even ask about turning on the TV anymore, and it rarely occurs to me. Every now and then, we'll all gather around it to watch something we all enjoy, but it is intentional rather than habitual now.
Our TV vacation has turned into something so much more than a vacation from noise. Having a quiet home has changed our way of life. It has helped to slow down our pace of life. It has allowed time for more reading! It has helped to make us more disciplined. And it has brought us closer together as family.