Thursday, May 3, 2007

Step Away From The Television

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Our elementary students are participating in a reading contest. It involves paper race cars representing each class, posted on the walls in the hall, zooming around a race track to the finish line. Progress of the race cars is determined by how many books the students have read. Some of the 5Th graders were complaining to me this morning.

Them: Our race car is last!
Me: Well, have you been reading?
Them: We don't have time to read!
Me: Turn off the TV.
Them: Whaaaaaat?
Me: Turn off the TV. And the electronic games. And the computer.
Them: But....
Me: Turn them off. Just for 1/2 an hour. Try 1/2 hour of reading every night.
Them: Stunned into silence.

I left it at that. Didn't say anymore or lecture anymore. I felt pretty sanctimonious. I was super librarian. I was just so awe-inspiring. I even found this quote to include in my inspirational blog post.

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

And then I thought about it. Really thought about it. 22-28 hours per week. Tom and I watch roughly three hours of TV every night. More on the weekends. Say, four hours at least. That's 23 hours a week, at a minimum. Whoa. We are losing YEARS of our lives.

Now, in our defense, we do watch a lot of movies. And we DVR just about everything now so we hardly ever watch live TV with commercials. And we watch series on DVD. But...still...that's a lot of TV.

I do read a lot. Probably at least two books a week. But think how much more I could read if I turned off the TV a little more?

But then we would have to cut back on all the episodes of "Smallville" we are catching up on. Six years worth. Can't possibly quit now.

We would have to stop watching the of-course-we-watch-them-don't-you shows like "Grey's Anatomy", "Boston Legal", "House", "Bones", "Heroes", "Jericho", "Two and a Half Men", and "Christine". Can't. Stop.

We would have to give up on our new, interesting and are we the only ones watching this show?, Blood Ties. Noooooo.

We would have to flick off HBO and stop watching Rome and Entourage. We are addicted, I admit it. Would suffer serious withdrawal. Can't do it.

We would have to cut off our subscription to Netflix. I have a copy of "The World Trade Center" at home right now we need to watch. Just not gonna happen. Too many movies to see. But that doesn't really count as TV watching, right? It's ON the TV, but it's not really TV, right?

OK, I'm grasping at straws here. We do watch a lot of TV. But...we enjoy it. It's fun to watch together. We laugh, we cry (OK, I cry), we discuss, we banter, we make fun of each other, We do. We bond. It's a good time for us.

Maybe I could wait just 1/2 hour to start watching. Get a little more reading in.

Maybe I need a race track of my own. Just to have a little incentive, you know.


Heather said...

My problem is, I'm a slave to crafts, so I'll turn on the TV and before I know it, I've watched three Tivo'd episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and hey, lookit! There's a half-finished scarf in my lap!

It really does make the crocheting go quickly and painlessly.