Years ago, our family consisted of seven addicts. We did not have a Word of Wisdom problem—we had TV-itis. The TV disrupted mealtime and bedtime, spurred silly arguments among our children, and stifled the communication in our family. But it was not until I heard a Relief Society lesson on the influence of television in the home that I finally pulled the plug and put the TV in storage. Here are some steps we used to combat the “withdrawal symptoms” from TV and a discussion of the positive changes this decision has made in our lives.
First, we made it a family project to find worthwhile activities. One activity that resulted from our brainstorming was to gather a series of interesting, inspiring books. In the evening we popped popcorn, huddled around the fire, and chose someone to read to everyone.
Second, I began the enjoyable task of teaching my daughters cooking, embroidering, machine sewing, knitting, and crocheting. I taught one daughter first-year typing. Music lessons and gymnastics became part of our lives. My husband taught whittling, drawing, and painting to our children. Daily practicing was no problem because the noise and enticement of TV were nonexistent.
After eliminating the TV we quickly began to see the value of our decision. A real change occurred in a boy who had been living with us that year and was struggling in school. When I attended parent-teacher conference at midyear, the counselor showed me how the boy’s grades had dramatically improved beginning in November. “What happened in your family in the month of November?” he asked. “We got rid of the TV,” I replied.
While permanently eliminating television may not be the answer for every family, our lives are definitely happier and richer without it. And the children are developing talents and abilities that will bless their lives and their children’s lives in the years to come.—Geraldine Bartholomew, Winder First Ward, Salt Lake Winder West Stake