As I mentioned in my last post, we have been sick the past few days of our lives… And we did just as everybody does when we’re sick– we planted ourselves in front of the television and rotted our brains until we felt better.

Now don’t get me wrong, we do fairly well with TV. But the past few months we have fallen into the most familiar Netflix trap, finding a few shows that hooked us so quickly and thoroughly that we basically lived our lives with the pure intent to be able to once again plop down in front of the tube and watch another episode… Or two… Or five…

Our most recent Netflix binge was The 100. It has great characters, but is a touch violent

Slowly over the last couple weeks, I have grown weary of our nightly couch-ridden ritual. But I didn’t admit it to myself until these past few days when TV was just about everything we did. As I lay awake in bed, trying to calm my buzzing head and ease my stricken eyes, I realized just how much time and energy our little foray into the digital world were absorbing. And honestly, I can’t really blame us! With a toddler, a pregnancy, a new business, and the summer heat, it is just so easy to sit down and be a vegetable. But is that really what life is all about?

So, my wife and I decided to take the week off Netflix.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not being weird about it. There are certain times when it really is just all that can be done. For example, our son, who is still sick, will stop crying as long as he gets to see and dance and play with the animals of Zootopia. When he is sick is literally the only time when we let him sit in front of screens, but during those times my goodness is it a lifesaver!

Here he was this morning, his tummy ache kept at bay by his love of animated animals. My point is NOT that TV is bad.

But let me tell you what has happened the past few days… I’ll give you the bullet-point version for the sake of clarity!

  • We have washed and folded EVERYthing in our home that needs it (the folding part is particularly impressive for us)
  • We made a trip to Costco, which usually seems hard to fit into our schedule, and got better deals on more of our essentials
  • We have been better with our son’s routine, and he has gotten more sleep and better care
  • We have more time for each other, catching up with each other’s day during mealtimes, talking about thoughts and feelings, and… uh… reminding each other that we are, indeed, of the opposite sex

But let me tell you what I’m most proud of– I love to work with wood, and I have been wanting for the past few years to begin the hobby again. Plans to make handmade blocks for my son have been brewing in the back of my mind for months now. Well, last night I got home from work, sat on the couch, stared at the blank television for a moment, and then drove to Home Depot. And seriously, is there any place better on Earth than Home Depot? That place is my zen!

I used my personal money to buy a few tools and some hobby wood, and after last night am halfway through some handmade blocks. I even lost track of time last night, as all of a sudden it was 11:00 o’clock. Where had the time gone?! I packed up my things and got ready for the night. I laid down to bed, and slept better than I had in a long time.

I’m very excited to finish up this project. Need to cut a few more, file and sand, then finish!

Better than anything, I will (hopefully) enrich my child’s life with a wholesome toy. And that I am proud of!

Again, please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that TV is inherently evil. For us TV just spiraled out of control a little bit, and we needed this week completely off as a reboot. We will go back to watching a show here and there. But it is something to be kept in moderation. I think how much television your family watches is a very important question for everybody. An equally important question– what could I be doing instead?

Because I, for one, am a better dad with no TV.

No TV Makes Me a Better Dad