We have a habit in our house of changing up the furniture every few months, and by changing up I mean moving it around in the space to make new spaces. I think it comes from living in five different houses in five consecutive years. As a result, we feel like we get a fresh new house every couple of months. If you haven't tried it, give it a go. It really can be quite liberating.
A few weeks ago, you guessed it, we reconfigured our living room. After all, we'd had the same configuration for five months and it was time for a change. After getting out the tape measure and seeing what could fit where and how it might look we shuffled the furniture around and found that we had in fact divided our large living room into two living areas. One a sort of formal couch/seating area in which the kids can play and use our large couch as a trampoline, and the other an almost love seat/reading area that looks straight out our balcony doors to our beautiful view of the Blackall Ranges. Standing back to admire our handy work we thought we had done quite well, but we couldn't find anywhere to put the TV that would suit the new configuration and be close enough to one of the three, you read that right, three, aerial points in our living room.
Me; "EMERGENCY!!! Where are we going to put the TV? I'll have to rewire a new power point out of the floor and re-run a new aerial cable to the same point. Maybe we could get a ceiling mounted projector and just point it at one of the walls. Maybe a drop-down TV mounted in the roof space or one of those new TV's that look like a piece of art when you aren't using them as a TV."
Genie; "Or...we could put the TV in the cupboard and just forget about it for a while."
Me; "WHAT? NO WAY! THAT'S THE MOST RIDICULOUS IDEA YOU'VE EVER HAD!"
Genie; "How about we compromise?"
Me; "Okay." (Insert cautious, what is she up to, this beautiful, crafty, full of feminine wiles, woman look)
So we compromised...and put the TV in the cupboard for a while.
And guess what? It is the single most inspiring decision that we have ever made. I mean after all, what is on TV that isn't worth losing? And by removing the television from our lives we have not only removed the distraction from our children's lives we have filled the void left behind with communication. That's right, we actually talk to each other more. We ask about our days and what is working and what isn't and what we want to do in the future and we take the time to plan or just to look at the view!
And if you think I'm happy, you should see the kids. Out of sight really is out of mind for them. As far as they are concerned things couldn't be better. Toys that haven't seen the light of day for months are once again back out of the toy box and being used. The trampoline has copped an absolute belting and they have so much vitamin D as a result of being outside I'm surprised they don't glow in the dark.
But don't just take my word for it, (well you have to because it's my blog), we aren't alone in this discovery. In fact, we were inspired by some good friends of ours. For many years they have had no television in their home. They have two young adult children of 17 and 19 years of age respectively and both leaders of their school and in their community. Incredibly gifted academically and socially, (the children and the adults) they have just returned from several weeks riding motorbikes with their parents through Vietnam. Last weekend we joined them at their farmhouse and had a good old chat and a few drinks. Our small kids and us and their big kids and them. And it was absolutely fantastic. We spoke of travel and current affairs and our work and their work and plans and the future and all things bright and positive and not once did we think about what we might be missing on the idiot box or talk about the latest reality TV show or get distracted by doom and gloom because we don't get exposed to it nearly as much because we don't watch TV...Any of us.
I'm not saying to stop altogether but just try it. Put your TV in a cupboard for a week and see what you can achieve without it to distract you. I promise you, social media will get very tiring very fast and once that is gone you are free to create, educate and relax in a space that is free from at least one major distraction. And if you must watch something just stream it on your computer. It's a digital world after all.
I understand that this might be a bit of an alien concept for a few of you but ever since we started our online business we have, ironically, moved further and further away from screens in our daily lives. We realise that we need them to do business with and to educate ourselves with, but other than those two functions we have realised that entertainment is far more rewarding and far more satisfying coming from each other. Good company, intelligent conversation, social interaction on a face to face basis, the satisfaction of being present in nature and enjoying the free big screen TV that is the world outside. These are the things that we seek out now. These are the things that we enjoy. These are the things that help us to grow as people and in turn help our children to be valuable, considerate, empathetic, positive contributors to society.
So join the revolution. Blow up your TV!
And be kind to each other.
Your Freedom Tribe