Growing up, neither my husband nor I watched much television. This was back in the late 1940s. My best friend Kathy was one of many children and her mother insisted that we all sit in front of Howdy Doody in the late afternoons so that she could have a quiet time to prepare dinner. I remember thinking that Princess Summerfallwinterspring was beautiful. I never did enjoy the rest of the program, nor Kate Smith’s program which followed. Kate sang “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain” and I would groan (quietly). Later in my teens my brother and I watched the Twilight Zone on a television that he built with vacuum tubes. We tried to guess the outcome of each show after the first 10 minutes. He made a box with a switch that we could push to delete ads. I actually see value in these side activities as I look back!
Our two children never watched TV at home. We were involved with camping, friends, pets, wood working, skating and 0ther stuff. After about 10 years of no TV, neighbors took pity on them and gave us a used one. We covered it with a tablecloth and never used it.
In university my son wrote a very interesting paper for a course on his views of the debate about TV. After a very noble approach to the topic, he later spent hours watching TV in the lounge of his residence. Much of it was current events, “the news”. He became an information junky! (which is by no means all bad!)
Our daughter is now raising kids of her own. She is adamant that they not be subjected to TV or other electronic devices. She favors creative play, the great outdoors, projects and interaction with friends. Last week, my daughter and her husband were occupied with packing boxes in preparation for their big move. The little ones were playing and chatting in their room for a long period of time. When Mama came to check up on them, she found that they had collected every stuffed animal in the house, covered them with blankets and set up a message pad with a pencil for recording names… What was going on?
It seems they had created an animal rescue shelter! Mama was enthralled with their project and their ability to play so well together. Then she began to wonder, suspecting that their Day Home may have played a part in this… Yes, the teacher confessed, they had watched “just a little” TV, and it was about Dora the Explorer who had visited a shelter for dogs. AHA!
Nothing will change as far as TV viewing at my daughter’s home. No TV is permitted while the little ones are awake. In fact, things on TV that might seem innocuous truly frighten them and they have trouble sleeping afterwards. Not to mention, even watching shows and movies aimed at their age levels can make their eyes glaze over and lose all expression. Yet, this one animal rescue activity was such a delight and sparked their imaginations when Mom and Dad most needed it. Kids know how to keep us guessing and questioning ourselves!