I’ve been in a funk lately. I’m not sure what started it, or if it came on slowly. Master’s week definitely wore me out, and the stress of our EXPENSIVE van repair also weighed heavy on my nerves. Regardless of the cause, I don’t like me lately. Sounds funny, but it’s so true. Mostly it’s been directed at my poor innocent husband. I have to apologize daily for my awful attitude and responses to his innocent questions and remarks. During the day, I’m great. The boys and I have had really good days lately, and together, we’ve been very productive. It’s like a switch is flipped around 5:00pm and by the time Josh walks in the door….look out! Anyways, I’ve been completely aware of my nastiness and have been trying very hard to snap out of it. Prayer, scripture, more sleep…nothing has been working so far. This past Sunday I decided I was going to make some drastic changes to my ‘normal routine’. I’ve known for a while now and have been trying to fight the fact that our family spends entirely too much time in front of the television and the computer. I justify it with, “they’re playing educational games”…”it’s our time to unwind after the kids go to sleep”…”at least they’re not fighting!”…the list goes on. But the bottom line is, when we’re in front of a screen, we’re not building each other up, we’re not glorifying God, we’re not interacting with anyone or anything, and we’re certainly not being productive. If anything, we’re losing brain cells, allowing someone or something else to think for us, and also allowing images and ideas into our minds and hearts that probably do not need to be there. My plan was as follows:
I would go back to getting up around 6am (way before the kids). Have a quiet time everyday (or as often as possible!). NO T.V. except between the hours of 3pm and 5pm. No television or computer time for me and Josh until after the kids have gone to bed, and even then, try to stick to one or two shows and then turn it off. We, as a culture, have totally allowed multimedia entertain to rob our families of our values and our relationships. Things like facebook and myspace have taken the place of real face-to-face fellowship and we’re becoming numb. I do not want that for my kids or for my marriage.
My mother-in-law sent me the perfect email yesterday that completely solidified what my goal is in all of this. Basically it was the story from 1Kings 19:19-21 when Elisha makes the decision to follow Elijah, and in doing so, completely destroys everything that would allow him to come back to his “former life”. He burned his tools he used to work, and then killed and cooked his oxen. It was his way of saying, “This is it guys! God has called me to follow Him and I’m not turning back!” What a great picture of sacrifice and the desire to change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on burning the computer or busting the television screen, but I will forever hold that picture in my mind when I’m tempted to sit down “for just a few minutes” to check my facebook, or when I’m tempted to turn on the TV for the boys so I can get my own things done around the house.
I’ve seen incredible results in the children just in the past three days. They are getting along better, the house stays clean because the boys have been outside the majority of the day and they help at least twice a day with chores. Laundry stays under control because, afterall, what else am I going to do?? 🙂 Not to mention, as a result of them playing outside all day, they are exhausted when bedtime rolls around. This new change makes me very excited for the summer. It has also helped my patience tremendously. When I’m not so focused on what I’d rather be doing, whether on the computer or in front of the TV, I’m calmer with the boys. I have the patience to muster up a godly response and even give godly wisdom.
With all that said………..I’M NOT GOING BACK!! I will not let my family slip back into mental numbness and I will not jump on the bandwagon of raising a generation of “vidiots”…my children will not be fat, violent, lazy, and dumb because they spent their childhood entertained in front of a TV or computer screen rather than outdoors being KIDS. My marriage will be strengthened because we’re choosing the high road. The less comfortable option. The choice that forces communication, love, and patience.
Ok, I’ve stepped down off my soapbox now. Forgive me! 🙂
I hope I’ve encouraged someone out there struggling with their children, wondering what they’re doing wrong…that just might be the same thing I was doing!