by Joy Dombrow
In my parenting, I am a stickler about monitoring television.
My children are allowed one hour of screen time on non-school days. This includes video games, television, computer, and iphone activities. I have a myriad of good reasons for this, so I take this daily battle seriously.
However, for the next two weeks, I am loosening the reins. Better said, I am throwing the “rule” entirely out the window, thanks to the Olympics. I still believe too much television ruins creativity, jeopardizes self-control, hinders relationships, exposes children to sin, derails productivity, and limits life experiences, but the Olympics come around only once every four years and I actually believe that watching them with our children is beneficial.
For one thing, it brings us together.
1. We experience together.
Healthy relationships seek to share experiences together. It’s an important ingredient for becoming close to others. When we all curl up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn, discussing the people, sport, and competition of the games we understand each other better and create shared memories, thereby growing our friendship. It’s a form of family community. Let’s face it, late night chats in and of themselves are memory makers, and finding something “clean” on television to watch together is a rare opportunity not to be missed. (Even during the commercials we have tickle times, wrestling, gymnastic attempts, and joke telling.)
2. We grow together.
The Olympics provide rich material for learning character lessons. Perseverance, sportsmanship, work ethic, focus, determination, encouragement, family, friendship, and teamwork are just a few things that are modeled by the athletes and coaches we are watching. The law of sowing and reaping is being played out right in front of us, and we can evaluate how we are each doing in these areas.
3. We learn together.
While watching the opening ceremonies, we became aware of countries we didn’t even know existed. It was interesting to see traditional wear, to learn of country populations, and to see the “look” of each nationality. As our world grows smaller, it becomes more and more important for our children to know of those with which we share this planet. Media coverage even includes historical and informational stories that broaden our knowledge of these countries. It’s a homeschooling opportunity like none other.
4. We dream together.
It’s amazing to see what the human spirit and it’s ambition can accomplish. It’s inspiring to see a dream being fulfilled right before our eyes. Too few children have personal goals and aspiration these days, and even if ours don’t have dreams to be an Olympic athlete, the games can lead to important discussions towards dreaming.
5. We marvel together.
When God created the earth, He said that it was good. When He created humans, He said it was very good. Watching the Olympics gives our families another opportunity to praise God for His amazing handiwork. What our bodies are capable of and what our minds can overcome is nothing short of miraculous, and proof of our great God.
All of life is an opportunity for worship, and the Olympics are no exception. It can be a sacred moment if we allow it.
Yes, we will have the television on much more these next few weeks. In fact, we reinstalled our tv just for the occasion. I think it’s a good investment into our family.
Here is to team USA…
…and to team Dombrow!
Bonding with family,
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