Why We Don't Have a TV

No television?! What do you do all day? Okay let's get into #12 - No Television/Limited Technology from my post about the 13 Most Influential Decisions in the Last 13 Years. This one is fun because it brings up so many peripheral concepts for discussion.

What do we do all day? Well that's a simple answer: We do almost everything except watch television. Read, ride bikes, hike, eat, rest, wrestle, do homework, cook, play with Legos, go to the park, visit museums, attend church, drive to the grocery store, cultivate silence, buy toilet paper, drink coffee (the adults anyway), argue, bathe...

I think you get the idea.

This post is not really about what we do, but about why we do it (or don't do it in this case). But because that's the immediate reaction to hearing we don't have a TV, I wanted to address it right off.

What We Do Have

So we actually do have a TV. What?!

Yeah, we have the physical rectangle called a television and it hangs on our wall in the living room. It's black, shiny, and it plays movies and hooks up to our classic Nintendo.

But, it doesn't connect to any provider, so it forces us to be more intentional when we use it.

I know some families don't have any technology except a phone but this is our happy medium: - 1 smart phone with a data plan - 1 flip phone - a screen that plays movies (doesn't matter if it's a television, a tablet, computer etc, but just 1!) - a video game console (we like our classic Nintendo because it's less likely to have what we consider to be questionable content) - a laptop - a Bose Bluetooth speaker (connects to the smart phone and accesses our Spotify account) - a B&W printer

Why We Decided Against a Traditional TV System

Okay so now that you've got an idea of what we own in this category, let's talk about why.

Time Technology may not suck away your time, but we're addicts. My husband always says we'd be couch potatoes if we had television and I'm sorry to say he's right. It's hard enough to rent just 5 movies from the Library. Although his main reason for doing this is to be certain to choose something we'll both enjoy. Each source of tech comes with its own black hole and I've been down enough to know what it's like so we're choosing to stay away from the possibility of more.

What's your time worth? Maybe you feel like you have oodles of time and that tech isn't stealing any of it away. Great; keep your life status quo. But as for me and my house, we crave that openness that having less technology affords.

Resources Can you survive without Google? I'm not saying I can't!

Google has become our brain, in some ways. It's always there, waiting to answer our questions. It's a fantastic resource because it guides us to other resources. I enjoy the ease of Google, but I don't want to become dependent on it.

From time to time my kids will ask a question and I'm tempted to use my phone for an immediate answer. Sometimes I go for it and sometimes I wait. Often times I realize that this Trivia-seeking practice doesn't equal real learning. Relationships

When you have nothing to do, do you instinctively grab your phone aka your other hand?

A great place to consider our habits in this area is in a waiting room. Everyone is looking at their phones - no one interacts. It's like a casino slot-machine aisle. Sad. People are made for interaction...the real face to face kind that doesn't involve a screen proxy. Have you ever been with a friend who preferred their phone over your face? I have. I chose not to be offended, but I noticed. It gets in the way of genuine relationships. It encourages insecurities like, They don't care about what I'm saying, or worse, They don't care about me.

Silence This is it's own entire blog post about how noisy our world has become and how we can fight against the noise by cultivating silence! How often do we have access to silence? Think about it, the grocery store, the coffee shop, even in church - it's always a myriad of noise. Granted, some noises are more peaceful than others. But, when was the last time you sat in silence and enjoyed it?

Silence is golden for a reason. It holds value. And I want more opportunities to enjoy it, cultivate my ability to deal with it and teach my children to do the same.

Some of the best introspection comes from the ability to calm the mind, sit in a quiet space and consider the state of humanity and the world. Ever heard of Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Epicurus, Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire, or Ayn Rand? These souls had access to silence. The point is not whether I agree with all of what they stood for, but that the human spirit was meant to have that space, that quiet.

So I'm in favor of less technology.

Yes, I let my kids play video games on occasion, but it's a privilege not an entitlement. But that's delving into the topic #11: Child-Centered Home vs. Adult-Centered Home, which I'll cover in a future post.

For now, I'll just say that I appreciate some of the benefits that technology (electricity for one!) brings, and I'm more than willing to utilize it to meet our perceived needs. I've already learned a lot about what our real needs vs. wants are when we did our Simple Living Experiment.

However, I will not embrace any technology for very long that comes against our ability to use our time wisely, build quality relationships or appreciate moments of authentic silence.


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Lana Leigh Wilkens is an author and speaker who helps women discover their authentic family values and challenges them to ask the right questions so they can decide with confidence and conviction.