Thursday, December 9, 2010

A TV-less Life

It was 10am, nearly two months ago. I had just finished volunteering at a local hospital and headed home to get some chores done. As I pulled into our driveway my heart skipped about 10 beats. The smashed glass, easily apparent from the busy road we live on, screamed "YOU'VE BEEN BROKEN INTO!" I immediately got my wits together and called 911. Jason was of course 30 minutes away at school and not answering his phone. I waited outside for the police to arrive. There was no way I was going to investigate the house on my own, even though I was sure no one had decided to stick around since they made the whole operation so blatantly obvious - even from the road.

It took about 15 to 20 minutes for the police to show up. During that time I made a mental list of all of the things they could have stolen. I was just so grateful that no one was home when the break-in occurred. My eldest son was actually supposed to be there (though no cars would have been in the front hinting of this), but in a strange turn of events earlier that morning plans changed and he left about two hours prior. The police arrived, pulled their guns (that made it all the more real & scary), and explored the inside of the house.

When the "all clear" was signaled I followed inside and was relieved to find the only thing stolen was our TV. Let me re-phrase that - Jason's TV. In a previous life, his pride and joy. Well, I probably shouldn't put it like that, but he did like it. It was a large flat-screen he had purchased almost 4 years back in our higher income and more-mindless-consumerist days. It was quite expensive at the time as the technology was fairly new. It killed me to purchase it, but it was one of those "I've worked so hard [and indeed he had] and I deserve to relax" kind of arguments, and it was hard to disagree. He was the sole bread winner and extremely hard worker, and I wanted him to be able to have something he could lose his mind in now and then. Fast forward 4 years - we'd never buy a TV such as that now. But we've changed alot since then, too. The loss of that TV was a blessing in disguise - and no, I don't mean because of a large insurance pay-out. We ended up not even claiming it as our deductible is so high. So new window - check. New door - check. But did we get a new TV, you ask?

We have now been without that TV for two months. Other than the fact of feeling violated because someone broke into our home, honestly I couldn’t be happier. The kids (ages 3, 10, & 11) haven’t suffered in the least. Our 3 year old, especially, would be in a catatonic state when the TV was on. And when it wasn’t on, he would almost constantly ask me to watch something. He NEVER asks now, and just plays by himself or with his siblings. There wasn’t even a hard transition period – we were like “We no longer have a TV,” and his response was “OH NO!!!... Well, OK!” (scampers off to go play). That surprised me the most. I figured he’d be scarred for life!

The benefits are endless. No more ads encouraging us to eat crappy food. No more ads telling us our clothes aren't the hippest styles. No more Victoria's Secret commercials popping up while my kids are watching when I can't find the remote. No more worthless entertainment & celebrity "news". No more reality TV that so easily draws you in. More family time. More time to draw, read, and play the piano. More time to cook. More time to clean! Well, that may not be a positive, but you get the drift. People – including kids(!) – can survive, and even thrive, without TV. I swear! I can’t promise we’ll never have a TV again, but it is definitely now on the bottom of our “wants” list. Note I didn't say "needs"! -Carrie


  1. We are similarly TV-less and loving it. We've been married and without a TV for 3 years. Prior to that I was TV-less for about 2 years and Charlie for about 7. It is a nice treat when we travel (hellooooo Food Network!), but it is nice to not get sucked in when we're at home and have other more ambitious and ultimately more important things to do.

  2. Unfortunately we have 3 tv's in our house! My kids (5 & 3) rarely ask to watch tv or sit still when they do ask. I am lucky that they have never been tv kids or entranced. About the only place they actually watch tv is in the van where they are buckled in!!