I clipped out a Dennis the Menace comic from the paper a few days ago.  The comic shows Mr. Wilson in front of his TV  with his remote in hand.  Mrs. Wilson is looking at a book with Dennis and saying, “I think there was much more prime time before television.”

I clipped the comic because I felt there was much truth in that statement.  One definition of prime is having the highest quality or value.  I think it would be safe to say that families spent more quality time together  before the invention of television.  Prime time today means the hours during the day that advertisers can reach the most viewers.  One value I saw in National Turn Off Your TV Week was the opportunity for families to spend valuable, quality time together.  It was a prime time for family time.  (Related post)

I challenged myself to “unplug” for the week.  There would be little or no TV or computer for me and I challenged my family to do the same, adding video games to the list for all of the kids.  I announced to my family, “Hey, it’s National Turn Off Your TV Week!”

My announcement was ignored.  Instead, I heard from two of the teenagers, “Yesterday was National Smoke Pot Day!” 

How and why would they know that??!?!?   

I decided to press forward by accepting the challenge for myself and see if I could create some prime time for my family.  I confess that I cheated a little.  I still watched the evening news after kids were in bed, and I still accessed our family website to keep up on news of our extended family.   (see post about family website)  But I didn’t watch any other TV shows and, hardest for me, I didn’t do any blogging.  I even stopped reading the blogs of others.  During the week I was able to get some organizing done and some carpets scrubbed and, more importantly, spend some one-on-one time with family members.

Here is a brief summary of how my week of being “unplugged” went:

Monday – Yawlin and I finished organizing his room and scrubbed his carpet and the hallway carpet.  My 17 year old daughter’s bird died.  I sat on the edge of Huh’s bed, rubbing her while she cried.  I listened while she mourned her feathered pal that she’d had for years.  She reminisced about how he could sing like an opera star and announce that he was a good bird.  I spent alot of time with her that day while she pulled herself together so she could play in her softball games that afternoon and evening.  I allowed her TV time that night.  It was her way of trying to forget. 

Tuesday– I got more of the upper floor carpets scrubbed and then teenagers started showing up at our house.  A gas leak had occurred at the high school and the school had been evacuated.  Our teens thought it was the greatest thing ever.  Some of their friends came to the house and, of course, we had to turn the TV on and watch the news reports about it.  Our cupboards were raided, dirty dishes piled up in the sink, and the house was filled with the sounds of talking and laughing.  Not a bad thing at all. 

Later, when Mack returned home from her school, she announced that one of her drawings had taken first place in a Middle School art competition at the mall.  We just had to get online and let everyone on our family website know the good news!  

Wednesday– I kept Yawlin, who was off track from school, busy practicing his magic tricks for cub scouts that afternoon.  At 4:30 p.m. nine cub scouts came to our house for a “Magic Party.”  The rest of the family scattered.  A house full of cub scouts can be a little scary.  We were using the rooms with the TV and computer for the magic party so everyone was forced to find something else to do.  That evening Hub and I went on a date.  We got dessert at Applebee’s and talked.  It was nice.

Thursday – This was grocery shopping day.  Yawlin went with me.  Later the two of us played “Clue” together.  He won.  When it came time for me to take Hoob to her dance practice I got to drive her to the new dance studio, the one that is 30 minutes away.  Instead of our usual five minute drive and quick chat, we got to talk with each other for 30 minutes.  I learned some new things about my daughter on that drive.  Hub and I had a dinner to attend that night so Hoob’s father is the one who picked her up from her dance practice.  I hope he took advantage of the extra drive time to talk to her as well.

Friday – Four of the seven kids didn’t have school this day.  Even though I’d already visited my Grandpa earlier in the month, I decided to take my kids to play games with Grandpa Great again because they enjoyed it so much the last time we all did it together.  (See related post)  This turned out to be a valuable experience because Grandpa pulled out his old year book and shared some great memories of his high school days.

Saturday– Squid had a rugby game, Yawlin had a soccer game, and Hoob had a dance competition.  We split up as a family in the morning so that some were supporting Squid and some were supporting Hoob.  Everyone was able to attend Yawlin’s soccer game because it was later in the day.  Hoob’s dance company took first place in their category at the dance competition so we once again got online to announce it to our extended family members.  The rugby team and the soccer team didn’t do so well.

Sunday – This has always been our day to attend church and spend time together as a family.  It is our family rule that TV and computer time are limited on Sundays.  After church we visited with each other, some played games, some spent time in the yard enjoying the warm weather.  That evening my four kids went to a family gathering with their father’s side of the family.

Monday–  This was supposed to be my day to plug back in and start blogging again.  Family matters and kids needs took precedence again and I didn’t get to spend any time on the computer.  Instead I was shopping for t-shirts for the seniors on Huh’s softball team, creating locker flyers to announce the final home game of the season, taking Mack shopping for some required art supplies, and listening to Yawlin excitedly tell me about his first day being back on track.  Not to mention spending time listening to Hub as he shared some frustrations with his job.  Though I didn’t get to write a post this day it didn’t matter.  Family always comes first for me.

The week flew by rather quickly and it was quite painless being unplugged.  I wasn’t perfect at it, but I did create some “prime time” with family members that I might not have if I hadn’t challenged myself to stay away from my electronics.  I don’t know the statistics on how many people actually participated in National Turn off Your TV week, but I hope families at least tried it for one day or evening.  We make time for the things that matter most.  I would hope Family Time would be one of those things that matters.