American Idol Banished
After making havdalah following Shabbos Bereishis, my first task of the new week was to move our heavy 27-inch television and put it in the closet. It was the first step to rid our house of its presence by the end of 2007. Although my wife and I have slowly stopped watching television, we have allowed our children to watch certain children's programs. As time went on, however, we decreased the amount of time we allowed our children to watch until we got to the point that it amounted to less than a half-hour a day. Once we reached that point, it became obvious that television was no longer needed and no longer fulfilled any purpose.
We never configured our living room or family room around the television as is often done in many American homes. Our family's one television had already been relegated to a room in the basement three years prior. So, the decision to get rid of the television was not a drastic one. With our children still very young, it was an opportune time to make such a decision; a decision that will hopefully prompt them to become voracious readers like some of their friends who also do not have a television in their homes.
It took my son a few hours on the following Sunday morning to realize the television was not around any more, and surprisingly he did not throw a temper tantrum to protest its absence. When he finally asked my wife where the television was, she responded by asking him if he wanted to read a book. He said yes, and then forgot all about the television. My five year-old daughter has always been more interested in doing arts and crafts than watching it and only asked where the television went on the following day. She too did not seem to upset at its "disappearance".
Although undoubtedly our children will have exposure to television at other childrens' homes, it will be interesting to observe how they grow up lacking this item that is considered to be the centerpiece of most American households. Within days after getting rid of the television my wife noticed a marked improvement in their behavior. Hopefully, there will be many other positive benefits as well.