All morning, since the moment I awoke, I have been glued to CNN livestream watching and hoping for the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. I have felt myself getting more and more anxious and farther and farther from my family. I am less then a week into my experiment to see if I can always place my family first, and I have failed this morning as I’ve totally ignored my 3 year old.
Here is a great article from Psychology Today about media making families sick. One of the things that it recommends is earning media time by participating in non-tech activities. With my 4 children I have found that if I were to do that it would be a full-time job of regulation. I don’t believe in over-controlling them like it suggests by having charts and whatnot, but in pursuing the healthy habits together. “Hey guys, let’s walk to the park.” I often find that we don’t even have time for the media much less want it when we make other activities the first priority.
I suspect if today I had started my morning right with our goal of family time first thing each morning, I wouldn’t have wasted the entire morning glued to the news about a situation that has no eternal value for me or my family. In fact, the only reason I was able to drag myself away from the news, was by holding myself accountable. Once I got off the news and opened up something more uplifting (for me it was scripture), I was utterly shocked by my immediate change of heart: I didn’t even want to go back to the nuisance of reporters watching police drink gatorade on the corner while speculating what may happen.
Media CAN be very destructive and we are learning this fact repeatedly as a family. It’s been a journey for us to find the right balance. (We aren’t so extreme to believe that we should even try to live in this world without it.) Our journey started first years ago with getting rid of the questionable PG-13 movies in our collection. (I readily admit that the only ones I have somewhat missed are Shrek and Legally Blonde) Then we got rid of cable TV all together. The benefits were immediate. We read more, the kids fought less, we spent more time connecting. (We then let in Netflix and Hulu – which we may need to reevaluate) Our focus as a family as of late has been to spend at least 50% of our media time with things that uplift, inspire, and are productive. (Getting rid of it all together is just out of the question for us at this point) Instead of getting down on myself about it, I am making a mental note to remember what happened to the numbing of my spirit this morning and not get sucked in next time tragedy strikes, which seems to be more and more often.
I guess for me the question that needs to remain in the forefront is, “Is this something that is uplifting, inspiring or productive?” The answer needs to be not only honest but honest in relation to the correct focus. If I am living a centered life on my family, is this uplifting, inspiring, or productive? I am pretty sure Caroline would answer with a resounding, “Mom, come here,” which she just yelled from wherever she is in this house (I have no idea) at this very instant.
How have you limited the media’s influence in your home? Or do you not think it is necessary?