Why I Don’t Watch TV: Reason 127

Posted: 02/04/2010 in Family relationships, Parenting, Television

Long before I was married with children, George Gallup, Jr., of the Gallup Poll fame, said something about parenting that has stuck with me to this day. His observation is part of my 1,000 Reasons Why We Don’t Own a TV and have no plans to get one:

“If more Americans could be persuaded to carve out of their 3 or 4 hours of television viewing each day a period of 5 minutes at bedtime and use this time to ask their child a simple question — ‘How did things go today?’ — and listen, the result in terms of individual families and society as a whole could, I believe, be highly salutary.”[1]

In the almost 30 years since making that observation, I wonder how many households embraced the message. For me, I have a tendency to take things to the max. In this case, I took George’s challenge to spend 5 minutes with the kids at bedtime and expanded it to a half hour.

Our nightly routine typically includes reading to the kids for about 30 minutes from one of the classics, followed by tucking each one in bed, asking them “What was your favorite part today?”, praying a short prayer over them, and then giving them the blessing.

No, I’m not looking for a pat on the back or a reward for these attempts to be an engaged parent. Believe me, their impromptu hugs and kisses when we’re together are gratifying enough.


[1] George Gallup, Jr., Testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Family and Human Services, 22 March 1983.

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