Smith Kids MSU Tailgate

Smith Kids MSU Tailgate
Dominica, Veronica, Rebel and Miranda

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Smith Family TV

I have been working on this one for awhile now.  It provides everyone with a little more background information about our upbringing, how TV was involved in it and how that impacts the NO TV 2011 experience. 
The Smith family was, actually it still is, quite unique especially when it came or comes to TV.  First of all, unlike most Americans, we did not even own a television until well into the eighties when my paternal grandparents gave us a small hand-me-down TV after they upgraded to a larger set.  It was probably 10 or 12 inches and was black and white.  Nothing fancy. At that time, I was in my early teens. This second hand splendor of a TV did not consume our entire living room nor did it steal away those who visited our home with distraction.  Rather it was a tiny box that sat on a rickety old stand in my parent’s bedroom. 

My first memories of actually watching television involve the entire family (Yes all six of us) snuggling on my parent’s bed to watch a show after chores. It was a challenge just to keep us all balanced properly so we wouldn't fall of the bed.  We owned and operated a family dairy farm at the time.  Once chores were completed on cold winter nights, we would all snuggle under a hand-made quilt that had been a gift from my great-grandmother and we watched a show.  If we got really lucky we would successfully talk dad into a second one.  Then it was off to bed.  There was no watching TV for the entire evening at our house.  The TV did not monopolize our time. To us TV was a treat, not an every day occurance.  Even today in 2011, my husband and I have never had cable and neither have our parents.  Although I must admit I had become a bit of a TV junkie especially in the past year with the adjustment from working mom to stay-at-home mom.
For those who are unfamiliar with the dairy industry, it is a tough business and it doesn’t pay well, but it does teach strong work ethic, integrity and family bonding.  We grew up quite poor without a lot of material things, but bonded for life by our shared experiences on the farm. I truly believe that is why we are still so close today and that is probably why I was able to talk my siblings into joining me on this NO TV 2011 adventure!
Why do I share this with you?  I wrote this for two reasons.  First, to make you understand that it is not only possible to live without television, but it can be quite enjoyable.  Before he left to work this morning my husband actually said, “It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be”.  And no I didnt make that up.  Coming from Jeff, that is a HUGE compliment.  I wholeheartedly believe, that not watching TV is an experience everyone should embrace if even for just a short time in order to find more meaning in life and to develop a better appreciation for those they love.  It really is already leading to many positive changes with my family.  The second reason was for inspiration for my siblings.  I thought reading it might help them if they are struggling to keep the TV turned off.
This is all just food for thought.  I am not trying to piss off Sony, Samsung or any of the other great television manufacturers out there with this blog.  I don't plan to start some crazy TV revolution. Although that does sound kind of fun, I simply don't have the time for it.  I do, however, think it is safe to say that all Americans could benefit from a reduction in time spent in front of the TV (the increase in type II diabetes and childhood obesity are both evidence of that)  I am just taking a stand for my life and my children to ensure that we are getting the most out of life. After all, at the risk of sounding cliché, “we are all only here for such a short time”. It seems silly to spend it in front of a 20 something inch television set sitting on your couch. 
Vern out

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