In my previous post 'The Year Without a Santa Clause' I talked about our decision to give up television just before Lukas was born. Yes, we did give up cable and local TV channels and it was difficult at first, but moments and meals like that which I described from this morning, happen much more frequently now, without the background hum and chatter of the previously ever present tube. I will admit (and if you read this blog regularly, both of you will realize) that Mrs. LIAYF and I have not completely given up watching media altogether. After we put Lukas to bed in the evening, have cleaned up the dishes and toys from the evening dinner and play time, and have taken care of any pressing family business, such as paying bills, calling family, or ordering groceries, we will sit down and watch one episode of whichever series we are currently getting delivered from NetFlix. We just ended the 4th season of 'The Wire' (a great series), and are dabbling with a few other shows, while we wait for season 5 to be released sometime in August. We enjoy this time to ourselves in the evening to unwind and are happy that we can have control over how much time we spend in front of our television set.
I recently read an article in our local paper that indicated nearly 40% of 3 month olds and 90% of 2 year olds watch television on a regular basis. Mrs. LIAYF and I personally don't think television is necessary for a boy Luke's age, but respect that other parents may have differing opinions. That being said, what I can say about Lukas is that the lack of television in his life (he has not watched any, other than an occasional glimpse at another person's home) has definitely not negatively affected him. Lukas is an extremely social, happy, curious boy who smiles and interacts with people we have just met out in public. He is thoughtful and fun loving, sleeps well, and doesn't throw tantrums. I know that things will not always be this peachy as Lukas grows, and I also don't believe that the lack of television has been the sole factor determining his demeanor to this point. However, I do believe that it has had one other large impact. Mom and dad are not distracted by the TV, and are thus able to be more attentive to Lukas than we otherwise would have been.
At first thought, I felt like I had to give up quite a bit by cancelling our cable. I have always been a huge sports fan and watching my teams, win or lose, has been an extremely important part of my life. After the switch I started out by following my teams closely on the radio, or in the daily paper. However, without being able to see them on TV, often several days would go by before I checked in, and as many of you know a lot can, and usually does, happen in sports in that amount of time. The result has been that I have gradually drifted away from my dependence on sports as entertainment. I'm still not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I do know that what has replaced sports as entertainment, watching Luke develop in all sorts of wonderful ways over the past year, has been extraordinary. I can honestly say this has been a terrific decision. This time in a child's life goes by so fast that if you divert your attention to other things for too long, you are going to miss something grand and amazing.
Yes, there will be a time when we turn the television back on, for Lukas' sake and for ours. I am not sure when that will be, but I'm sure we will know it when that time comes. In the meantime though, I will continue to enjoy quiet Saturday mornings, sitting at the breakfast table sipping my coffee watching the the latest on the toddler food network. It's fascinating!