A mother of a toddler recently asked me for advice. Having run the gauntlet of raising two, now adult children, what parental "wisdom" could my husband and I impart to her?
Our immediate answer was, "trash the television"! Seriously! Evict that little Pandora's Box! Cutting the umbilical cord of cable TV just isn't enough!
Television is not an educational tool one "wants" to use for Orthodox Christian children. Children don't even need television for school. (However, nowadays, they do need computers.) Most teachers will not even accept a handwritten report anymore, and computer labs close early on school days.
The impact of television on innocent minds is staggering. The constant visual stimulation creates an early, insatiable demand of wanting more. Television deprives our children of their wonderful and vivid imaginations.
Kids mimic the children stars portrayed on TV. Seizing the art of sarcasm, the lowest form of humor, they wield it against their peers and parents, from a very early age. Falseness is excitingly attractive.
Courtesy, manners and politeness are now viewed as alien or archaic. There are no real moral role models on TV for children, and television is the most immoral baby-sitter of all.
If you believe you are successfully combating the seduction of TV, can you with all honesty, acknowledge that whatever series or type of movie you regularly watch, "could you view it with your parish priest"? Or bishop? Or someone you deeply respect in the Orthodox community? If you would feel uncomfortable watching a particular "show" WITH your parish priest, chances are it's not fit for you either!
Through careless or unmonitored viewing, our spiritual welcome mat, is worn out by the "company" we invite into our homes. Under the "roof of our souls", we greet all acts of sin, indecency, and violence as "entertainment." Our spirit is numbed by the rape of our minds through television.
Youth perceive "how we should be" through the eyes of television. In reality, the world embraces spiritual ugliness, wickedness and apathy, making it seem the most beautiful, desirously natural thing. Our young people are maturing via osmosis of foreign, anti-Christian values.
Who is to blame? Well, we are, for permitting this! We do have control over our own homes. As Orthodox Christian parents, we cannot take responsibility for the whole world, but we must for our children.
With television out of the picture, other positive forms of family interaction will evolve. Board games, music, art, old fashioned "hide and seek" walking, reading, and real conversation, will reconnect you closer, together as a family. You will have fun getting to know each other all over again!
Our precious children, our gifts from God, are "on loan" to us only for a very short time. We must endure for our children's sake! One day we will answer for the wheat or chaff we permitted our children to assimilate.
Read this article on the Orthodox News website.