Sunday, February 20, 2011

Paper Dolls, the Park or a Babysitter named "TV"


Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ~ Deuteronomy 11:18-19

My youngest daughter has been having some 'issues' lately.  Out of fairness, she is usually a sweet, little bright light to us. Recently, however, she has had problems in dealing with her frustration at others.  This little outburst can sometimes be aggressive.  She is our youngest child and at the age of four, wants to be heard. 
I have clearly not been helping her to handle her reaction to situations.  Since she was misbehaving in this way more frequently, I made a rash decision and pronounced, "You will lose your special things and you will not be allowed to watch TV for two weeks!"  As the words came out, I thought, "Wait a minute...that means I will have to entertain her!" 

Once again, I felt that gentle nudge from the Lord.

  Turning off the television has been the best thing...not only for her, but for me, too.  I recount that I was very strict with my older two children, limiting the time and what they watched.  I can see the benefits of these limitations.  They have huge imaginations and love to play outdoors even when it is freezing!  How had I grown so slack with my youngest child?  How had I forgotten how violent many of the cartoons are today?  What was making me so busy that I so quickly handed her over to her 'babysitter,' Ms. TV?  Was the aggressive behavior due to her sitting in front of the tube?

I am certainly not an expert.  I don't know what the statistics are with children and TV.  But, I can tell you that in the two weeks that she lost her privilege to watch cartoons, a new child has emerged!  We have cut out hundreds of paper dolls and outfits and sat for the longest time cutting, dressing and redressing these paper dolls.  Her little tiny hands have worked so diligently, and I became aware of what a great thing to do to build fine motor skills.  Now, she would typically cut the toes off and sometimes the head, but we just cut out some more!  My oldest daughter, who is nine, also joined in on this simple fun!

We have had countless tea parties and painted some beautiful pieces of art.  With the lovely weather, we have gone to the park and with her as the leader, and me as the follower, we climbed on everything, went up and down the slide, and had a swinging contest to see who could go the highest (I read somewhere to do that with your children!)  What fun it was to be four again!
The two weeks have passed and she hasn't asked to watch the TV.  The television is like a thief who robs our time.  The hours go by before you realize it, and all of a sudden your baby is all grown up.  This is precious time, and I am all too aware that there is not much of it!  Her behavior has improved greatly, and her attitude and imagination have flourished.

I am thankful the Lord nudged me off my throne (the place I try to sneak back to more often than I would like to admit.)  I have asked the Lord to show me what is keeping me from my family.  I have asked Him to help me set clear boundaries with the phone, or any electronics, and even friends and family.  As He is helping me, I am helping her to handle her frustration...to learn to walk away or to play alone or to ask for help.  I have read that the verse in Deuteronomy 11:18-19 is all about connecting with your children and teaching them to know God's value system.  I am not able to do this if I don't spend quantity and quality time with her!

Television may not be a huge temptation in your family.  Maybe it is the computer or video games, people or activities that vie for your or your child's time.  What do you find that separates you from your family?  I encourage you to ponder these things and spend some extra time with your kids today!  You might find that there is nowhere else in the world you would rather be!

Blessings on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!  Thanks to all of you who gave a response and/or advice on my post Raising Children.  I learn so much from those whom have walked before me, and I imagine that by the time I figure out this parenting job, my kids will be grown!  What a journey it is!

Here is a GREAT article if you want to read more!
http://jenwilkin.blogspot.com/2010/10/guarding-sabbath-for-our-children.html?spref=tw

 

  
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9 comments :

poindextr said...

I applaud your progression through the tenuous journey of parenthood, one in which I have no experience at all, but observe others with so much admiration.

I read a blog essay last weekend, last Sunday as a matter of fact, about another mother's journey through parenting. One of her lessons is that when you say yes to something, that means you are saying no to something else.

And your story teaches the obverse. When you say no to something (in your case, watching television) this means you are saying yes to something else. As you wisely determined, the yes was the opportunity to interact on a more personal level with your youngest child, encouraging her to develop imaginative creativity and the skills to entertain herself in a constructive way. And as you so skillfully pointed out, giving you the opportunity to reinforce the messages about values and faith that you are striving to instill in your children.

Again, I offer my humble praise at the wonderful example you are setting.

Petie said...

What a great post. I am going to show it to my daughter who is expecting her first child.

Carol said...

When Chickie was little, we watched so little TV that I cancelled our cable. How liberating! I would so much rather "spend" my life living than sitting in front of the TV.
Turning off or regulating the TV is an absolutely priceless gift to your family and yourself.

DaisyGirl said...

Limiting TV is wise, but remember not to let it become a punishment, or otherwise kids find a way to watch it at friends homes or elsewhere. I went thru that issue with my oldest son and now that my boys are now 21 and almost 18 and I can say I watch more TV then they do! I have to admit I do love The Travel Channel myself!
I'm glad that your daughter loves the time that you have given to her! Cherish it!

♥ Kathy said...

Looking at the paper dolls made me feel nostalgic, they take me back to my own childhood.

Your blog is a great lesson for people of every age. I need to stop giving the tv and the computer so much of my time and life.

WONDERFUL POST!!!

At The Picket Fence said...

Oh, my friend, every week I eagerly await your Sunday posts (no pressure though!) and you always come through with something so profound and so timely! We have done some TV "weaning" in our house too and I totally agree that it makes a HUGE difference on many levels. My own sweet youngest girl has also exhibited a bit more...ahem...DRAMA than her brother and I completely agree that one of the best ways to counter it is through concentrated play-time and imagination building. We just got back from a weekend trip to the snow and we even noticed how much more it fostered our kids relationships with each other to be away from the normal distractions. They played together and laughed and had a ball and just bonded! And...they didn't even want to watch the TV! Anyway, I won't go on and on and on like I normally do but just know how much I relate to what you wrote and how, as usual, I appreciate your openness and honesty. You blessed me today friend!
Vanessa

Magpies and Magnolias said...

A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to eliminate our cable bill during a financially challenging time. We have never looked back. We now realize how much time it sucked out of our day, precious hours that could have been spent more productively.

Now, even though we have recovered financially, we still choose to remain a TV free home!

Jules said...

Enjoyed your post. I don't have children yet, but it reminded me of my own growing up years. We didn't have a TV growing up. We had a Ninetindo, but our time was limited on it. We weren't allowed to sit and play it all day. Our partents always encouraged us to play outside and use our imaginations. We built Teepees, played cowboys & indians, cops & robbers, built forts in the woods, played in our treehouse, climbed trees, played kickball, played in the creek...our playground was an endless place of fun and imagination! I wouldn't trade any of it for a TV! And on rainy days Mom & Dad would play games with us, read books, or teach us some kind of life skill. There was always something to do. They even tried to make chores fun for us. :o) Now that I have a TV I try to limit my time. But I will admit that there have been days when I have allowed too much time to slide by while I sat in front of the tube. I have found that if I ground myself from TV or even my computer...for even just a week....it allows me to see how much I don't miss them when I find other things to do. I hope to teach me children to use their imaginations. I hope to keep them from owning too many gadgets and electronics and just enjoy being a kid. Sorry for the long comment. Your post made me think of some many great memories from being a kid. :o)

karen lopez said...

So VERY VERY relevant....as a working mom who works from home...the computer "calls my name" far too often. I spent yesterday gardening with my 4 year old....what precious time, we give it up so easily at times. As we were digging up the earth I reminded him that plants and seeds don't grow where the soil is too hard......all of the sudden I thought of another bible story that that experience will now help him understand better...Sometimes it's the simplest things that teach us the most...
Blessings...

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