Family TV Watching: Parenting Tip | Teaching Self-Government

Family TV Watching: Parenting Tip

watching-television1"I came across your ideas on the LDSEHE website, and have been so inspired by all of it.  I'm starting to read your book, hoping to fill in a few holes.  I really like your idea for Friday family movie nights as your one source of TV.  How do you make selections for that night?  Do you have a list of movies you would recommend?"

You are right.  We have a family TV watching policy to help our family not get bound by television.  Our policy is that we don't watch TV unless it is a movie on Friday family movie night.  Olympics and Church General Conference Programs are excluded in this policy.  In some homes television is given too much power.  The TV is given the power over the people.  Well, actually, we turn over our freedom to it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good show here and there, and I do give my mind and time to a few things, but I have also felt the bondage of television.  I will never forget wanting to see the outcome of a show so badly that I was ignoring my own child to see it.  The child was asking me something, and I just kept saying, "just a minute."  This is not the kind of parent I want to be or the person I want to encourage my children to be.  If television takes power over the family vision then the television needs to be controlled before it takes over the whole family.  I read a quote today which said, "Keeping peace in a large family requires patience, love, understanding, and at least two TV sets."  When I read this I was sad.  I wasn't sad about a person owning two televisions.  That's no disaster.  It was how the TV was viewed in the above statement which bothers me.  Is the TV a principle for family happiness now just like love?  Are families so hooked into the TV that they are arguing over it enough to make a statement like this?  Our Friday family movie nights are unifying events, not selfish events.  There, I said it.  Too much TV watching can very easily make someone selfish.  The purpose of television is to stimulate the self, not to unify the family.  This is why we take it in small doses.  Our policy gives us something to look forward to as well.  Here are some of the Peck Family's favorite movies.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers....................MGM Ever After.....................................Drew Barrymore All of the Love Comes Softly Series.............Michael Landon Jr. Bright Eyes.........................................Shirley Temple The Greatest Game Ever Played..............Disney The Scarlet Pimpernell.....................Jane Seymore Wives and Daughters.........................A&E National Treasure (1 & 2)..................Nicholas Cage Pride & Prejudice (all versions)............BBC Ann of Green Gables Series...............Megan Fellows Planet Earth.....................................BBC The Princess Bride........................ Remember the Titans.....................Denzel Washington The Ultimate Gift.........................Abigail Breslin Newsies.....................................Disney The Karate Kid (1 &2).............Ralph Machio Sky High............................Disney The Sound of Music.....................Julie Andrews Akela and the Bee....................... Most BBC Shakespeare Movies and Musicals make it into our collection.  We love the classics. When I asked the children their favorites, these are what they said.  Don't just take our word for it though.  We are firm believers in pre-viewing movies.  Every family gets their own inspiration.  What feels okay for us may not feel okay for you.  My husband and I always watch movies and give them the okay before we suggest them for a family movie night.  This means that for date night, mom and dad might have to include a new movie here and there.  My rule is, when in doubt, don't.  If something about a movie bugs me, we just pick, another one.  Remember, just like my triathlon story, look deeply into the show when you are previewing it.  Don't just enjoy it, look for what messages it is giving and decide if you agree.  There are a few I don't agree with that I have watched with my children to teach them about parts or issues in the world which they haven't encountered yet for a teaching tool.  Just make sure a movie like this is followed up by good discussion.  In fact discuss all movies.  It's part of the fun!!!