My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Stranger

I have read the following story a few times over the years and it's worth your time. I do not know the author, unfortunately....

The Stranger 

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. 
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors:
Mom taught me good from  evil, and Dad Taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. 
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. 
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.
(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) 
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. 
My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely ( much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 
His name?.... 
We just call him, "TV."

* *Note: This should be required reading for every household in America !** He has a wife now....We call her "Computer."

This story grips me every time I read it. When a real person acts violently or swears or acts inappropriately in front of my children, I cringe and do anything I can to protect my kids. I do not allow those things in my home. But I let it in through the screens in my home. 

Some reasons I hate tv, video games, and electronics...

It takes away from the relationships in the home by isolation. Everyone is on their electronic device and not interacting with each other.

The more they watch, the more they misbehave and fight with each other.

The more they watch, the more dazed and unresponsive they are. It actually negatively affects the way your brain functions - especially in children. 

They see and hear things that they should not be seeing and hearing. It puts fantasies and wicked thoughts into your mind. Actions follow thoughts.

It zaps their creativity and imaginations.

It creates a mentality of entitlement and boredom.

It promotes laziness, unhealth, and depression. 

It steals your life, your joy, your potential.

It takes your focus off of people and real life and God. 

We have always had "rules" around our electronic use, but, I admit,  I have not been very consistent with them. Two days ago, I decided that I want something better for our family. I want kids who know their parents love them and who have close family relationships. I want kids who see and know and pursue their potential in life. I want kids who work hard and play hard. I want kids who have good character and kids who have a heart to serve others and not be self-centered. I want to enable and encourage my kids to be successful in their lives and in their relationships. 

Two days ago, I limited tv, computer, and ds to 2 hours maximum combined per day. The kids are a bit uncomfortable with this but are compliant. We are using timers and keeping track. I am encouraging good 'ol work and play and relationships the rest of the time. What they don't know is that in about a week's time, I am going to change it to 1 hour per day.....and then a week later we'll be moving to 30 min per day.....and after that maybe only a couple days out of the week or just on the weekend. This stuff is not going to be ruling our lives anymore. 

We are actually going to move and learn and grow and spend time with each other and with our family and friends and God. We are going to make a difference in the world around us. We are going to discover our potential and help others discover theirs. We are going to really live. 

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