30 Days Without Television: What I Learned

In short? I don’t need it.

My wife and I began our life together without television. After her long days of class, we loved to relax, talk, play cards. Yet somewhere along the line, we got a television, subscribed to cable and got into the habit of eating dinner in front of the television. Looking back on it now, it was like worshipping at some kind of altar: this do in remembrance of me.

Like any engrained habit, it was difficult to give up at first. Not only did we have “our shows”, but we had our rituals (none worth recounting).

Two things, though, frightened me most of all about my television consumption habits. First, I found my son forming the same kind of rituals. He’d wake up in the morning and immediately ask to watch a movie. Any time he was feeling upset, he’d ask for a movie. Worse yet, I found myself getting angry when my own viewing was interrupted. I’d fly off the handle at my wife or snap at my son if they dared intrude on my alone time with an engrossing show.

I am embarrassed to admit that kind of a reaction, given its relative insignificance; but it became the impetus for me to cut the cord and focus on the more important things in life. Our family has gone back to having dinner around the table, talking over our day and just generally sharing focused time together. Evenings are spent interacting, giving and taking, moving around together, being productive together, doing something together beside mindless consumption.

In fact, I found the whole exercise so fruitful that we decided to drop our cable altogether—saving about $70 monthly. That’s enough per year to pay for a weeklong camping trip.

Why not try it yourself?

Note: I realize this summary is coming a month after it’s respective August challenge. I have no defense for failing the September challenge, except to say that every night I prayed with my son we talked at length about the things we are thankful for. However, I felt the lesson I learned with my television fast was important enough to share, even a month after the fact.