Posted in Family Life

Stranger Silenced

Our family hasn’t had Cable for as long as I can remember now. Maybe 6 or 7 years? However we still had a TV.

We we moved to Phoenix in 2014 we didn’t even purchase a TV for our new home since we sold practically everything.

That was a great year! I loved not having a TV at all. However my husband got tired of watching sermons and documentaries on a lap top all 8 of us huddled around it…it wasn’t very neat-o.

When we bought our current house after a couple of months and trouble with the internet, my husband bought a smart TV.  We still didn’t get cable and the purpose was for sermons, documentaries and the occasional movie night. I forgot what was wrong with it but it needed to be returned and he came back with the next size up bigger TV. I thought it was a huge. I wasn’t very thrilled about it at all BUT I didn’t complain when I could watch any sermon on youtube on the big screen with the push of a few buttons, without buffering, on the remote. However then came Netflix. Now there are some decent things to watch on Netflix but majority is not so great. It became super tempting to just let the kids watch something on a sick day, a bad day, when I needed to home school one or two kids, when I wanted to work on a project, when I wanted to take a nap with the baby, when I needed to make dinner…you get the point. It is MUCH to easy to take advantage of it.

When we started painting the living room we had to unplug everything and move it out. After we set the TV back in place, there was what felt like a million wires to connect for the TV, surround sound, Blue Ray player, all that stuff. We shrugged and said we would do it the next day. To my joy..next day never came.

We realized how much more peaceful and calm the home felt. How the kids read more and played chess and board games more. The kids relied more on their imagination and just drawing during quiet time. I realized I was relying way too much on Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes to pacify the baby while I tried to homeschool. Now I just endure her torture lol. I understand it’s just for a season, it’s ok. There are hairy moments during the day where a little show could bring some peace and quiet but I am forced now to engage with them rather than to pacify them. The big kids are all much more involved in the meal preparations to keep them from tearing up the house during the chaotic dinner time and the little kids settle down better. Some of the day’s best conversations happen during those meal prep times.

While I have been very strict on *no* computer screen time in the past, I have allowed them to only play coding games and with a timer, only after they are done with all their school. This seems better to me than letting them have TV screen time. At least this way they are problem solving vs. being entertained.

Today our youngest was coming down with a cold so my husband arrived to find me hunched over the laptop that has the lowest sound, trying to hear the Wed night sermon. He chuckled, “So do you want to connect the TV again?” No! No! I would much rather put up with this then that thing again. I’m not saying there is anything wrong owning a TV, it’s just a means of communication, like your phone that can do all the same things and more. I just know my weaknesses and I can admit to you, I am just not strong enough to not take advantage of it. Here is a cool poem I heard in a sermon that really stuck with me.

THE STRANGER

“A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play ‘big brother’ and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors– Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched.

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’ t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up– while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places– go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house– not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home – not even for cooking. But the stranger felt 1ike we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes sugestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We always just called him TV.”

Author:

Christian, Homeschooling, Mother of 6 with way too many ideas.

One thought on “Stranger Silenced

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