About ten years ago I met a lovely woman who had a daughter and a very successful in-home daycare. One conversation led to discussions of our favorite television shows. When asked what her favorite t.v. show was she replied, “We don’t own a t.v.” Huh!!! Who had I befriended? I asked about her daughter. How could her daughter be expected to relate to or converse with her friends at school? What about current events? How would she stay on top of current events? This was utter insanity! Everybody had a television. This was the 21st century after all.
Today, ten short years later, I would give my right arm for lightening to render my cable useless. Why you say? My reason is simple – it allows us to get back to the simple pleasures of long lost verbal interaction. Without the distraction of the box-with-moving-pictures on all of the time children find games they forgot they had, parents remember the book they had been meaning to read, and better yet the entire family could head outside for a bike ride.
My change of heart came after our satellite dish was knocked out of service. At first the lack of ritual of turning on the television to tune out the world was a source of much anxiety – but not for long. Before we knew it my family and I were completing long ignored household chores. We were playing games together, eating lingering dinners, telling stories, reading, going for walks, cooking together…. It was wonderful! It was not always a Norman Rockwell painting, but it was meaningful. We were forced to use our imaginations, creativity and ingenuity to be productive with our time previously taken by watching television. It made us realize just how much time we kept ourselves connected to technology and disconnected from each other.
Eventually the cable did come back. Did we never watch television again? Of course not, we had all the shows we had missed to catch up on! Soon we found ourselves mourning the quiet time together. We missed the lack of distraction and hurriedness that comes with not wanting to miss a favorite show. So now we schedule a “cable failure” so we can have those moments we had forgotten were so meaningful.