Monday, October 15, 2007

American Idol Banished

המבד'ל ב'ן קודש לחול ב'ן אור לחשך

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.


At October 15, 2007 at 5:43:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Kol Hakavod! Wish I could do the same...I'm trying to cancel our TV reception and stick only with DVDs.

At October 15, 2007 at 5:57:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

we grew up with a tv in the house that could only play vhs tapes.. and there was no tv on school nights..

i can tell you the most lasting effect it had on me was that i have no tv coping skills, if i ever find myself in front of a tv, time vanishes and i have no idea what happened :)

of course it probably had a big developmental impact on us, and we did read a tremendous amount of pointless novels (with the occassional classic thrown in)

but the most apparent thing to me is my lack of tv-defense-mechanisms.

thankfully we have no tv in our apartment :)

At October 15, 2007 at 7:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

As a side story, my wife recently told one of her friends that we got rid of the television. The woman responded, "I could not live without television!! Doesn't your husband watch it??"

My wife responded, "You have seen my husband before. Does he look like he watches television?"

The woman nodded and responded, "Good point."

At October 15, 2007 at 8:20:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After our TV broke years ago, we decided not to buy a new one. This has had a good overall effect, as you'll also see now. We're exposed to enough of general society's nonsense anyway that we don't invite!

At October 15, 2007 at 8:31:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ASJ - You'd probably be interested in this

At October 15, 2007 at 9:06:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We keep the TV set in the house. We allow our kids to watch purchased and rented videos when appropriate.

At October 15, 2007 at 4:17:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mazal tov!

Television today must be considered an "Av Ha-Tumah."

Reb Moshe Feinstein urged people to get rid of it; so did the Lubavitcher Rebbe; so did the vast majority of Gedolei Yisrael.

To do so shows that you are a "baal nefesh," someone who is committed to taking responsibility for the state of his soul, as well as for his family.

You won't regret it!

At October 15, 2007 at 5:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

The Skulener Rebbe shlita is known to tell people to get rid of the TV. I’ve heard that on certain occasions he actually guaranteed a “yeshua” if people would take their TVs and break them so that no one would have any benefit from them.

At October 15, 2007 at 5:04:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Growing up I used to watch quite a bit of TV, but I stopped watching years ago. One of the reasons I stopped was because I was always doing segulas, going to tzadikim for brachas and the like. One day I thought to myself, I’m busy doing all these things, which are not actual obligations, and here I am watching TV, which involves who knows how many issurim and is defiantly forbidden by Torah law. Besides the violence and disrespect for anything or anyone sacred, there is promiscuity seen even in the most “family friendly” shows. In one show one can s probably see more forbidden things than our grandparents saw in a lifetime. I said to myself that the biggest “segula” and the biggest bracha I could do is get rid of the TV.

At October 15, 2007 at 6:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Rabbi Sears: Thank you for words of encouragement. They always mean a lot to me!

A Talmid: Interesting! While I am not thinking of taking a sledge hammer to my television, I am thinking about selling it and using the money I get for it to send to tzedakah.

At October 15, 2007 at 8:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

You sent it to the corner. Look at it. I can hear it weeping.

You are a strong person. May the force be with you.

At October 15, 2007 at 8:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger Jack Steiner said...

In one show one can s probably see more forbidden things than our grandparents saw in a lifetime.

Clearly you aren't watching the Discovery Channel.

I doubt that I'd ever give up my television. My life isn't run by it. I find many of the shows to be interesting and entertaining. Quite a few are educational.

But I don't blame anyone for getting rid of it either.

At October 16, 2007 at 5:28:00 AM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

I've found that nowadays, anything we really want to see we still can online; not having a TV helps us avoid sitting there watching things mindlessly. That said, I think it's much easier to avoid getting one than to get rid of one - kol hakavod!

At November 29, 2007 at 7:20:00 PM EST, Blogger SJ said...

This is stupidity. True one needs moderation cause too much tv is no good, but no tv is absurd.

All you are going to do is miss out on the stories.

>> there is promiscuity seen even in the most “family friendly” shows.

the horror! a woman wearing a short sleeved shirt! XD

At June 11, 2009 at 1:11:00 PM EDT, Blogger chanie said...

Nice post.
I like the ambiguity of the title.


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