Sunday, April 22, 2007

No Television

I thought everyone knew we had no television. Woody was shocked, though, so I guess I haven't made that obvious.

Here's the equation: No TV + Read aloud to your children much younger and older than other people do + Let your children discover that if they are reading, parents may not notice bedtime, and they might also get out of setting the table and stuff = astronomical SATV's. That still works even if your kid is ADD. (Online learning is going to be the way home for bright kids with eccentricities, BTW).

However, your children might still deeply resent not having a TV and go and become film students or Simpsons addicts. You still will have done your job. My filmmaker son, when he is old, will be among the last people in the world who can think in text and make it a film. All the popular children's fiction is made into film almost immediately these days. In 20 years, the number of people who can take an older text and make it screenworthy will be miniscule.

Even if you bring in Romanian kids who don't want to be read to, the lack of TV will keeping them afloat on learning to read English even if A)they don't like reading, B) they don't speak English that well, and C)they don't have any ESL help. In fact, I think ESL help might be a minus.

I admit, our fourth son is testing that premise. We are going to have to drag him across the line for highschool graduation. But he's almost there.

The younger two never read my blog, so it's safe to tell you here what I wasn't planning on telling them until they were both out of highschool: their testing in Romania said they were IQ 87 and 85. We knew better. The older has now moved up to B's in college, the younger is passing everything (barely) despite a crummy attitude in half his classes. We had a foster son years ago whose testing was wildly off as well. The tests are good. The testers can be jerks. There is entirely too much of testers seeing what they expect instead of what is there.

And get the TV out of the house. Even if your kids move to computer video, you're still way ahead.

7 comments:

Mike Austin said...

I gave up television 30 years ago. I am cleaner for it, have become a lover of reading and writing and do not miss the tube at all. When I hear of TV’s latest offerings I can only shake my head and wonder who would watch such puerility.

Woody said...

AVI, television isn't necessarily bad if can be adequately monitored, which is a tough task. If it can't be, then it's better not to have the temptation.

My borther-in-law is like you, and I had to hook up his antenna to pick up a sporting event when we were visiting once, but we promptly cut it off with the first ad, which was highly suggestive.

I recently made some changes in our cable service and rejected channels that carried content offensive to me. I told the provider that I wasn't going to invite people into my house who used bad language and expressed bad values. It's like them coming in and dumping sludge on your carpet.

However, there are some positive aspects to this tool of information distribution. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel have taught me a lot that I wouldn't necessarily have found in books. Some learn more about their interests from the Cookng and Travel Channels. I've also obtained tapes from the National Park Service on historical sites and events. Jeopardy! has taught me a lot of interesting trivia, and I knew a lady who was a five time undefeated champion on it. As a kid, I remember watching the news of Kennedy's assassination and the related events, and that first hand knowledge could not be filled by reading.

Many people may learn better from hearing and seeing rather than from classroom settings and reading. Some are just wired differently.

We homeschooled for years and our kids received a more traditional education than what they could receive in public schools, and they didn't hear cussing and witness bad behavior at home. However, they were not blind to what others were doing but were instilled with values to be able to stand up against those who want you to go along. I never let it bother me when people wanted me to drink alcohol with them and I wouldn't, and I didn't care if anyone didn't like it.

If your kids know the difference between good and bad and haven't had their consciences seared by the bad, then they will say "no" to those who want them to go along.

What's funny about us with the "Deal or No Deal Game" is that we try to predict what will be offered to the contestant based upon the math and psychologoy rather than worry about which briefcase has the big money, and we know when it's time to quit rather than press one's luck. It's possible to take a game of calculated chance and try to find logic in it.

Still, I respect your position, because that works best for you and your family.

Terri said...

Ahhh..so that's your secret.

I often wondered how someone who has a full-time job, kids still at home and is active in his church could possibly have enough time to research, analyze and write so frequently. Now I know.

Hmm...be a better blogger or figure out what Ben is up to on Lost and what that smoky cloud is on the Island? decisions....decisions

Is there any hope of developing a drug to ease the symptoms of television withdrawl? I am not sure my dopamine receptors(is that right?) could take the shock if we went cold turkey.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Buproprion works on a lot of other things....

Teri said...

You cannot separate the good from the bad with tv. Commercials are always with you. Someone else is deciding what your eyes will view. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel do not encourage you to learn about something and then make your own decision about the subject. As for news events, those will always be available somewhere and you will likely learn more about what really happened than you did at the time. 24 hour news channels mean that they are filled with all sorts of rumors that turn out to be false. They've got to have something to fill up the time.

My husband mentioned something interesting. He claims that television desensitizes you to the physical attractions of your wife. Even though he is not interested in other women, tv paraded them before him and it affected him on an unconcious level. And that is really what is most true about watching television. It affects you at that unconcious level, filling your mind with images that you may not want to recall.

Your brother-in-law can pick up those sporting events via XM Radio, if he's so inclined. It's how my husband gets his baseball fix!

terri said...

That would be an interesting conversation with my doctor.

Um yeah...I'd like some anti-depressants because I watch too much TV and I really do care about whether Peter, from Heroes, is going to explode with his accumulated super-powers and wipe out NYC.

I don't think TV addiction would be covered by my insurer.

Woody said...

The information from the History Channel is fairly objective, and only some shows on the Discovery Channel are not. I can't stand PBS, but one of the best books that I have is about our country's founding that was the guide for their series on that.

Regarding being desensitized for the physical attractiveness of a wife, I never thought about it. I see attractive women all day in public but, to my knowledge, that hasn't changed my views. It does have some logic to it, though.

I have XM radio for baseball season and will switch to Sirius for football season if it takes longer for their merger. You can also get FOX News on it, which is a plus while I'm driving.