4/11/08

More Than Three Hours

Something that is pretty important to me in parenting is averting my children's attention from media and commercialism. I recognize what an extreme effect our American culture has had on my own mind. As a parent, I have to face how even more extreme it is today. The impact of the messages that we are fed is pretty incredible, subconscious or not.

I was happy to hear someone speak on this earlier today and wanted to share some things that were shared with me. First of all, the average child spends 44 hours a week in front of the TV, video games, and/or computer. The average child spends 3 hours per week in one-on-one meaningful contact with a parent.

I recognize now some very negative messages I was fed my entire life that I had no idea were having an effect on me. I thought myself immune to the barrage of messages feeding the idea that more is better, what you have defines who you are, skinny is better, and sexy is best, etc...But the truth is, these messages are so subtle that they can become a part of how we think and what we believe whether we realize it or not.

Miles watches pretty much only PBS, mostly because there are no commercials and most of the shows are interactive and include lessons for life. But occasionally we have "regular" TV on when he's around, and because he sees commercials SO little, it's a pretty amazing thing to watch how enthralling he finds them. I immediately feel icky and turn the TV off. Maybe that's for a reason. Life just isn't about all that. And if we want our kids to grow up with values around giving, selflessness, respect for women, and a healthy concept of what gives them their worth, we need to be careful about what they see. We can preach these values and others to our kids, but if the images in our homes speak the opposite, we are only devaluing our own lessons.

I'm not saying that any child should be entirely sheltered from the real world. I'm simply saying that maybe we can limit it at home. There is enough inundation of images in every day life anyway; billboards, magazines, store ads, and even the sides of buses and trucks.

I want to have more of an impact on Miles and Asher than anything or anyone else. I want to be there to spend time with them and teach them how much their Creator and their parents love them. I want to do that more than three hours a week. So everything that flows from them comes from a place of understanding that they are truly and wholly loved. That they are completely valuable no matter what they look like or what they have.

Please know that I'm writing this solely as food for thought and a reminder to myself for later. This will hopefully remain important to Ryan and I, but just in case, it'll be right here in black and white, reminding me to practice what I preach.

Maybe it's as simple as wanting them to go to bed at night with images of playing outside with brother and dad, playing a game or making cookies with mom, eating at the table with their family, and just plain having a good time. I don't want them to go to bed with images from television shows and the Internet. Maybe it's just that simple.

1 clicked right here to comment:

k & k said...

you get it woman. you really get it. hopefully through learning from you, i can apply my ideals in a few years when i am a mom.

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