Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Are You Tuned In? What Are You Watching?

 When we first retired, my husband and I bought a small truck camper. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had a very nice fifth-wheel camper fitted with all the luxuries of home. We enjoyed a few camping trips together. I treasure those memories.  

Once, while we were camping, my great nephew, Kyle, came with us. He wasn’t yet four-years-old and loved to travel with his grandma and grandpa. Kyle was curious about the camper piggybacked on the back of our pickup truck. I took him inside to see the tiny sink and stove, the table that could make a small bed, and the larger bed situated above the cab of the truck.


Kyle took it all in, studying every corner. Finally, he looked up at me with those big eyes and asked, “Uncle Becky, where’s your television?” 


It isn’t the fact he called me Uncle Becky that surprised me. He always called me Uncle Becky. What I find interesting is that the one thing he noticed was what was not there. A television. 

It seems everyone has a television. Well, not everyone. According to Google, over ninety-five percent of households in America have at least one television in the home. I’m pretty sure among those who don’t have a TV a large number of them are streaming programs on their computers or phones.


Every day, people of all ages and from all walks of life invite a host of strangers into their homes. Loud, opinionated strangers. Strangers with outlandish stories to share. Strangers to entertain us, educate, or inform us. Strangers intent on changing the way we think and act. Strangers to show us who we really are when nobody is looking. We play games along with contestants, tune into news programs, cheer for our favorite sports teams, and follow the lives of others on reality shows. 


It isn’t all good. I’m not saying it’s all bad, either. There is place for television broadcasting, be it via the internet, an antenna, a satellite, or cable. 


I simply think many people replace true living with watching life go by on a screen without thinking about what they’re doing. 


I encounter people all the time who are surprised when they learn I don’t have cable television. I have an antenna that picks up a few stations. I watch some news and weather. I like to watch a few retro shows now and then. Sometimes, if I happen to catch it, I watch The Voice. And yes, I watched my Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.


I don’t watch most reality shows. I never watch soap operas (Do they still have those?) I don’t hesitate to turn a program off if it offers little to no value.


I suppose where I’m going with all of this fits with what we looked at about how movies reveal the theme of our lives (CLICK HERE if you missed that one) and how books shape our mindset (CLICK HERE for last week’s post).


Television, like it or not, also shapes our thinking. We see and hear the same messages over and over. I’ve watched as people have accepted things they once thought wrong to now be right because they have been bombarded with those messages repeatedly. It’s almost like “brainwashing.”


My plea is that we think about what we put into our minds. We can watch and enjoy television without becoming addicted to it. We can watch responsibly. I’m not intending to “preach” here. I simply want to suggest that everything we do feeds our thinking so we need to be keenly aware of all of it.


What do you watch? What do you turn off? What role does television play in your life?


Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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