I get some pretty funny reactions when I mention in conversation that my family doesn’t have any TV service. Several times I’ve gotten the response, “Did you just say you don’t have a TV???” I smile and clarify, “No, we still have a TV, we just don’t have TV service.” So why did my family decide to ditch TV?
Initially it was a financial move. My husband and I were trimming our budget and recognized that we were not utilizing our satellite service enough to justify keeping it. Plus, we were recording a majority of our shows to watch later, which we could easily watch using Netflix and Hulu.
A year or so later, we took another close look at our budget. While Netflix and Hulu were certainly much more affordable than satellite, we still felt we weren’t getting our money’s worth. In addition, we had a young child in the house now, and we didn’t want her staring at a screen all the time.
It was a tough decision. I think we went in phases. First we dropped one service, then the other a few months later. Looking back, I can’t help but be amused at my emotional dilemma. What was I going to do if I didn’t get to see how they handled the next season of Castle? I was really starting to enjoy Modern Family. Where would I get my laughs every week? I was going to miss out on the opportunity for Hawaii Five-0 to wow me again in the fall.
Well, here we are, over a year into our TV-free lives. Wouldn’t you know, I don’t miss it. Not a bit. Not even a teeny tiny eensy weensy bit. In fact, I kind of love it.
Here’s why I love having no TV service:
- It saves us money. We are able to use those financial resources in other ways to bless our family and our community.
- We have more time. Do you find yourself running out of hours in your day or week? Chances are, you’re losing more time to TV than you may realize.
- Not only is there the time watching a show, but also the time deciding which show to watch, getting the kids settled, grabbing a snack, pausing to pee, pausing to help your kids pee, and cleaning up popcorn kernels afterwards.
- There are some days when I still pause and think, “Wow, I still have 3 hours left before bedtime,” and realize that those hours are a such a gift that we wouldn’t have if we were still following TV shows.
- My mind is clearer. I wasted so much mental energy replaying suspenseful scenes and funny moments from shows. Now my mind is clear from all those distractions that kept me from focusing on what truly matters: my family.
- I have deeper conversations. Similar to the above bullet, my husband and I spent so much time commenting on a show we had watched and speculating what next week’s episode would hold. Now our conversations consist of planning a fun outing, sharing our dreams, and sharing our hopes for our children.
- My daughter plays independently and is madly in love with books. I truly believe that Margaret would not have her love of reading or would play as well as she does if we watched TV regularly. I’ll peek in her room to find her sitting on her glider reciting Brown Bear as she excitedly turns the pages. She also plays incredibly well on her own. I love hearing her jibber jabber as she imitates Mom and Dad and discovers new and entertaining activities.
- I once again find peace in silence. There have been periods of my life during which I’ve had to have TV on in the background or music on in order to go about my day. Silence used to make me anxious, as I didn’t like where my mind would wander. Now I can work, clean, and relax in silence, enjoying conversation with God or simply enjoying the calm. I actually prefer it, and find myself getting agitated if I’m in an environment with too much background noise.
- I’m setting goals and accomplishing them. One goal I have this year is to read 40 books. My husband set this goal for 2016 so I decided to do the same. We’re both well on our way to meeting our goal and loving every minute of it. Now I don’t leave the house without a book.
Now for the record, yes, we still own a TV. It does stay off for most of our week. Sometimes Jeremy and I will pop in a movie after Margaret has gone to bed on our day of rest. If Margaret is sick and wants to cuddle all day, I have no issue with snuggling up and watching Inside Out. The main difference is that TV is no longer a focal point of our lives.
Hesitant to take the plunge? I’m not suggesting you go all or nothing. I will challenge you with this: take some time this week to imagine what life would look like without TV (or even if you dropped just a few shows). What could you accomplish? What might you and the family enjoy together that you haven’t had the time to? How might your relationship with God grow?
For any readers who have ditched or cut back on TV viewing, what has your experience been? Please share in the comments section below!