Another Wednesday, another Lenten observation.
Last Saturday it became abundantly clear to me that we were watching too much t.v. in the house. When I say watching t.v what I mean is watching videos and DVDs on our t.v and watching Internet shows on Hulu and other outlets and watching d.v.ds on the computer. We have not had the ability to watch broadcast t.v. since 2005. I also need to back up the truck and say that for the past month or so our television has not worked so when I said watching too much t.v. I meant watching too much computer. Whatever you call it we were all watching too much of it. On Saturday Puppy was going absolutely crazy as I was setting up a show for her. The girl had addict written all over her. She wasn't the only one. It seemed like all we did was have shows on. It became clear to me that something had to give
On our way out the door to a myriad of activities on Saturday I mentioned to Amy that starting immediately there would be no t.v. watching (or whatever it is we do.) until Friday night which is usually a family movie night for us. I had a speech already to give to kids. Amy in her wisdom, said don't tell the kids that there's no t.v. for the week. She thought that the kids would feel like they were being punished and in reality we were not taking privileges away due to bad behavior. She and I decided that of the kids asked to watch something we would just say no and suggest a different activity perhaps one that was less entertainment oriented.
This week Puppy has asked to watch a show about every 12 minutes, which is a little down for her. We just say no and move on.
The other kids have seemingly forgot about t.v. for the week. They both can earn a 1/2 hour a day with electronic media (either the computer or the d.s.) during the school day. Besides that 1/2 hour, the rest of their free time has been unplugged and they have really enjoyed each other. All 3 kids have been busy with puppet shows, playing with toys that have been long neglected and playing games like monopoly and mastermind. ALL this on a week that so far has not been fit for much if any outside free time.
Spider Droid did ask to watch a show tonight. But besides that neither one of them seems to notice they are giving up t.v. for the week. Like I said in the title, they don't get that they are giving up.
My title has a bit of a double if not triple meaning. I don't think that most people in my country get giving up. Think about it there are two times a year that we associate with giving up. One is New Years with it's new years resolutions and the other is Lent.
There are also two other reasons in our culture for doing without, conservation and the economy. But the truth is we don't need a calendar or a reason to practice giving up. We can do so at any time.
Our family likes to turn the t.v. off for the summer. It is a time with lessons over for the Summer and the family home for the summer that we can enjoy each other and the activities that a Midwest summer affords. A different time we ate only rice for a week to get an idea of how 1/2 the world lives.
Your family might have other ideas for giving things up. It might be that you cut out all extra spending so you can throw a party. Whatever you do it can help bring your family closer together and to learn something in the process.
Another way that some people don't get giving up is in not understanding the reason for giving things up.
Hosea 6:6 says:
For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. NASB
This reminds me of an anecdote from 11 or 12 years ago. Someone was telling me about how proud he was that His son and His son's girlfriend had given up on ice cream for lent. I found this particularly odd because at the time the couple was living together outside of marriage.
I tell that story not to seem judgemental but to punctuate that God wants our obedience more than our sacrifice. Giving things up doesn't make up for obvious flaws in our moral character.
Lent is an excellent time to give something up so we can start get a grasp on how much Christ gave up for us. I am just saying it should not be the only time.
P.S. watching our t.v. intake will get a little harder starting tomorrow, as my Dad fixed our t.v. and will bring it back in the morning.
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