There are few programs, shows, or reasons that I will concede to Kevin watching TV for hours on end whenever he feels like it, which truth be told, would be pretty much whenever he is home and not doing homework. We have a two bedroom apartment, and the dining room table, our only couch, and main sitting area are in the one room where we have a big screen TV. It's the only TV we own.
I don’t mind the TV being on sometimes, but it drives me crazy when it’s on for hours on end. I’m absolutely convinced that having the TV, computer, or gaming console on all the time are detrimental to real life conversations, interactions, and spending quality time with loved ones. What can you do if you would like a better relationship with the Lord, your spouse, your children, your friends? Spend quality time with them unplugged.
I have no doubt this frustration with the TV being on all the time came, in part, from when I was growing up and my dad would always watch whatever sports were on. To me, having the TV on, especially when it was football, meant that I would not get my dad’s attention and would only be a hindrance to him seeing the game usually while drinking beer. Being treated like an inconvenience or burden merely by being present in the room is confusing and painful for children (or anyone else for that matter). That's one of the main reasons I didn't have the TV on when I was nannying for my two little guys, but there's also plenty of research that supports unplugging is important for everyone. Here's one of my favorite books addressing the topic.
Don’t get me wrong, Kevin and I do watch some TV together. Last night, I considered it a major victory when I talked him into watching a movie about faith rather than turning on the Olympics for several hours. We both really got a lot out of God’s Not Dead 2. I was so inspired to draw closer to Christ and make prayer time a priority, I drove out the Abbey for Eucharistic Adoration last night. It was wonderful spending quality time with Christ, always infinitely
more precious than gold medals.
I realized most of our time together at home recently has been with Kevin glued to the TV watching all sorts of different Olympic events. I’ll get into watching occasionally, but more often than not, my main thought is: “I can’t compete with that!” Of course, my swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, running, basketball, tennis, and soccer skills are such I could never compete with those who have made it to the Olympics, but I also feel that I can’t compete with the TV being on.
If someone really loves and cares about spending quality time with me, then they will be willing to turn the TV off so we can talk, share a meal, talk about our day, and perhaps even pray together. Sure, we can enjoy watching some shows, catch a movie, or laugh at some hilarious Youtube videos, but sometimes we need to give other people our full attention and need others to give us theirs. Okay, I'm finished with my rant (for now).
Speaking of Youtube videos, this is Kevin and my favorite bit about the Olympics Seinfeld style:
The Top Ten Reasons Why I Will Never Be an Olympic Athlete:
1. My body doesn’t adjust very well or very quickly to time changes. If the games were held in a place that was several hours or even a day ahead or behind Eastern Standard Time, it would not go well for any roommates, teammates, or travel companions who are scared of zombies.
2. If you see me running, then you can be fairly certain that I’m either chasing someone or someone is chasing me. If I am moving at high speeds, I’m most likely trying to intercept a child who is about to get hurt doing something dangerous. Basically, the only performance time I care about is how quickly I can move to prevent an incident requiring EMTs.
3. I’m not disciplined about exercising. By this I mean, I’ve never had a gym membership, don’t work-out regularly, and often count chasing kids at school and dancing with them as my daily exercise.
4. If I finish doing anything that leaves me gasping for air and someone with a camera and microphone gets in my face to ask me the same stupid questions they ask everyone else, I’d be far too tempted to given some snarky sarcastic answer or stick out my tongue, roll my eyes, and walk away.
5. I have put on a bathing suit and gone swimming only once this calendar year even though Kevin and I spent two weeks at his family’s cottage on the lake. Swimming is not my thing, and it’s been probably seven years since I have even attempted to do a cartwheel.
6. I can’t currently call to mind any time in my life that I would have been comfortable enough with my physical appearance that I’d be okay with billions of people around the world seeing me in a bathing suit or leotard. Yikes!
7. My personality and memory are such that I already have plenty of embarrassing footage of my screw-ups and failures in life on instant recall. I certainly don’t need to have them digitally recorded, intimately analyzed, and obsessively replayed from now until the end of time.
8. I’d be much more interested in exploring the beautiful places and taking photos than sitting inside a stadium in a city, country, or continent I’ve never visited before.
9. I’m kind of an introvert and love to read, so a pair of noise-cancelling headphones wouldn’t be enough to help me get in the zone. I’d need a quiet little room all to myself where I could stretch out and read a book, have some silent prayer time, and journal without cameras, commentators, reporters, or spectators.
10. Kevin and I have too much fun doing our own commentary while watching the Olympics on TV. I strongly believe that other people would be highly amused by our assessments of what is happening in certain events and/or that they would be entertained if they actually listened closely to the announcers. A few phrases uttered at the Potter residence recently:
“She lowered the bar!”
“I don’t feel very confident in this guy. He doesn’t even have shoes that match.”
“In some cases, white men don’t jump high enough.”