Homesteading: the television

I have been thinking. Well, when I have a few quiet moments, I try to think and those moments of quiet are rare. So really, I guess I have a lot of thoughts.  But perhaps when those thoughts are strung together, it constitutes thinking!

Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out when my “homesteading” actually began.  I guess I should give my opinion of homesteading.  I believe homesteading is an attitude, an attitude of independence.  Independence in my lifestyle; independence in my thinking.  It doesn’t matter where I live, in the city or the country, I will always be a homesteader.

So, I guess our homesteading began when we decided to put away our television.  It’s been an on and off decision throughout our marriage but today, we don’t have television hook up.  We have a lot of T.V. sets because of homeschooling and the huge amount of media work that’s done in our home.

Dave doesn’t watch T.V. much and never has.  I was the one who ended up with the “problem.”  Okay, let me justify, just to ease my conscience a bit.  I was home with many babies, babies who only communicated by crying/smiling or with one syllable words.  Changing diapers and breast-feeding really didn’t challenge my intellectual need.  Dave worked quite a bit – he was in ministry – need I say more?!

I became addicted to soap operas and was Oprah’s biggest fan. And, I was a news junkie – almost every hour in the evening till the 11 0’clock news. What was I expecting?  For the world tragedies to change in a couple of hours?!

One day when Catherine was almost 2, I was watching T.V. and sewing while she played with her toys.  She wasn’t even watching the T.V. when a commercial for Pillsbury came on.  Remember the Pillsbury Dough Boy and that silly  “woohoo” he did at the end of the commercial?  Well, Catherine, who wasn’t even watching, mimicked the “woohoo.”  I looked at her and thought, what else is going into that head of hers from the T.V.?  Some of the topics on those soaps weren’t exactly “kid friendly!”  This was the beginning…

At this point, we were in Seattle and do you know what the average is for days of rainfall?!  A lot!!!  The challenge to find alternatives to T.V. was frustrating at times, especially when my kids were young.  I began sewing most of their clothes, cooking more, gardening, making soap, and bread.  Without the T.V., my time was my own (well, with this many children, my time is rarely my own but at least it didn’t belong to the T.V.!) and I wasn’t bound by half hour increments in the day.  Also, I got to bed earlier!

The next hurdle was not using it as a babysitter for my kids.  Did I mention how much it rained in Seattle? 🙂  I became very determined and strategic in my mothering.  I had goal charts (on poster board!) for each child in my kitchen – this was huge for keeping me on task when it would have been much easier to turn on the T.V.

Please hear me…I wasn’t successful over night.  Addictions are difficult to overcome.  Mine had to be replaced by something else, something else that kept my attention.  And at times, my attention was only kept by sheer self-discipline.  I failed a lot…but I didn’t give up.  And that’s what made the difference.

I read a book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman.   To muse is to think.  Amuse is the absence of thinking.  This book is good food for thought.  It was a turning point for me, especially in helping me to understand my “news” cravings.  

I am a homesteader, independent in my thinking.  I choose who influences my opinions and thoughts.  Television was detrimental for me and how I thought.  

So there you have it!  Our first homesteading decision was to get rid of the T.V.  Without its influence, we had greater freedom to think beyond the boundaries of  societal “norm”.  We were not bombarded by commercialism and fashion “do’s and don’ts”.

I’ve always been a little “marches to the beat of her own drummer.”  Without the T.V., I don’t know how odd I really am!

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