We had an interesting discussion about whether or not to buy a television recently.
I’ll admit to being the person who suggested it – the thought of watching a Manchester United game (primary) or a nice show (secondary) on a large screen vs. an iPad was rather appealing. So, the idea took hold and I began researching TV models, best times to buy (thanksgiving), etc.
Luckily, I’m one half of a partnership and my wife pointed out that we barely have the time to watch anything these days. This sounds like a simple observation. But, despite not having watched a single game end-to-end for over a year at home, I fantasized about watching said Man United game once the TV appeared. How our mind plays tricks..
And, second, she reasoned that we’d be adding unnecessary pain to our parenting journey as we’d have to try to set boundaries for kids at an age where they don’t still understand them.
I don’t think I appreciated this at the time we discussed this. But, after 2 weeks away from home in AirBnBs with a TV, I am a convert. At home, we run on a ~5 videos/week-watched-on-weekends diet. But, the difference between enforcing such boundaries when there are no screens easily available and when there is a giant TV in the room is night and day. Even with a much more relaxed vacation TV diet, we still needed some creative negotiation and patience to deal with a few tantrums.
It is fascinating to see the hold a television has on little kids. They just sit transfixed at the colors – even if they don’t understand what is going on.
I think of most big expenses/investments with the lens of values. I realize now that the gap with the TV was that it wasn’t meant to be entertainment for the family – not just yet. In that sense, it conflicted with values I hold dear.
There will come a time when we’ll invest in a television for our home. That investment will come at a time when we’re all able to understand boundaries and enjoy the entertainment the box provides… together.