Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The TV Gets a Rest

It's "TV Turn-Off week" at school, and we couldn't ask for a better week for it, weather-wise. It's only Wednesday, and I don't want to speak (write) too soon, but I think it's going pretty well. When I reminded Lars on Monday, there were actual tears welling up in his eyes. Silly. He got over it fast.

We went to the bookstore that afternoon, (he needs to read a science fiction or fantasy book for his next book report in Language Arts...a dream come true for him) and we bought two books he's just been dying to read, plus he's reading through a manuscript of a Young Adult novel from Sherri in my writer's group. He actually loves to read, if he doesn't get sucked into the vortex of the screens in the house. This year, Lars gets home from school an hour and a half before his younger siblings. I have really enjoyed getting this one-on-one time with him. It's been a long time since it was just the two of us!

Anyway, we've been sitting in the sun in the backyard and reading side-by-side. No TV, or PS2, or Wii. Very nice. He has been troubled about the bad rap TV has been getting, though. Ever the advocate for the under-dog, Lars feels compelled to stick up for his friend the idiot box. It's funny, he's looking at the little paper that came home and trying to be all legalistic about it. "Well, Mom, we're watching a movie in science, so I'm already breaking the rules..." I of course explained that the idea is to choose not to watch TV when you are in a situation where you have control. To get into a habit of thinking differently about your time and not just automatically turning the thing on. And his little grin tells me he knows this, he's just being a contrarian. Or a 6th grade boy.

And as often happens, I see some faith lessons in the parental words coming out of my mouth. Why do we act like being a real, 7-days-a-week follower of Christ is gong to be so costly? There is a price to be paid, but what it costs actually turns out to be not all that valuable in the first place. Why do the tears well up and why do we turn it into some legalistic exercise that we're doomed to fail before we start? Let's just work on habits, be moldable, make good choices one at a time.

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