[notice]A fortnightly column by Anna Heydenrych.[/notice]
My husband and I decided to give up watching television or movies or entertainment of any kind for seven weeks. I suppose if we were living 100 years ago, this would be no big deal. We, however, are conditioned to resort to packaged entertainment when we run out of things to do at home. And so we embarked on our journey to wean ourselves off the need to be entertained. We also wanted to create more space in our lives and home to help us become more sensitive to hearing God’s voice.
I don’t have any profound lessons to impart based on the past seven weeks, other than to be able to state that it is possible. There is life beyond the television or computer screen. Some of the things that we spent our time doing over the last while were:
Nothing deep or meaningful about a game of cards, but as a married couple, we have found that it is quite a fun pre-bedtime activity. The alternative before, was to watch a movie on the computer, something we have always enjoyed. Watching a movie however, does not prompt engagement with each other, but rather prompts one or both of us to fall asleep.
Reading National Geographic:
We borrowed a pile of recent issues of the National Geographic magazine from my parents, and actually read them because we didn’t have the television to resort to. I like to think that this has broadened our frame of reference on the world and provided us with some interesting conversational tidbits.
Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier:
Instead of being tempted to watch the next installment of our favourite series and ending up going to sleep at 11:30 pm on a week night, we tend to go to sleep at a much more reasonable hour. Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.
Having the neighbours over for tea:
We find that we have had a lot more time and space in our lives over the past seven weeks. More time to be outward focused and to engage with others in our home. We also feel that as a couple, we have had plenty of good quality time with each other at home, and so we have the capacity and desire to invite the neighbours (or friends and family) over for a meal or for tea.
On a lazy Saturday afternoon, my husband can be found chipping away tiles on the balcony instead of eating a bowl of chips in front of the television. Our DIY projects have advanced quite considerably over the past seven weeks.
Time for quiet times:
While we could still devote even more time to sit and be quiet with or Father God, we have definitely been finding more space to be still since we cut out the entertainment. Another valuable benefit is that we have been engaging our minds with less ungodly dialogue and messages. Even the most seemingly funny and light-hearted entertainment is often drenched with ungodly values.
We have chatted about whether or not we should even bother going back to watching television and movies. I would like to say that we won’t, but I must admit that we might. I do however feel that these seven weeks have helped us to readjust our approach to watching television. It was good to find out that we do not in fact need it.