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To TV or Not To TV?


To TV or not to TV? Many Christians wrestle with this question. Many choose to not have a TV at all. Others choose to have limited TV and tight controls. Yet others open the floodgates completely. Regardless of where you are on the TV decision, this experience was too powerful not to share.

For several years we’ve had cable TV’s most basic set of channels—primarily to occasionally watch sports or news, and that with heavy blocks, controls, and caution. The only other things we watched were Andy Griffith or a parentally supervised kid’s show.

A few weeks ago, one of my boys approached me and said, “Hey Dad, why don’t we just cancel the TV service? We hardly use it anyway?” The question was seemingly out of nowhere. I glanced at Dana who nodded approvingly, and a few seconds later, the four oldest members of our family decided unanimously we would cancel the cable. I was thankful for a son who pushed the rest of us to take a helpful step.

Haylee was the only one who hesitated a bit because of one show that she enjoyed after school. But after a moment of explanation, she accepted the news and emotionally moved on. Later that day, it was officially disconnected.

A few days later in Haylee’s Sunday School class, the teacher asked the kids to share one of the best gifts they had been given. Without hesitation, she raised her hand and said, “The best gift I’ve ever gotten was the cable TV being disconnected.” When I later asked her why she said that, she replied, “I’m just really glad we did that.”

Turns out the only one in the family who wanted to keep it felt deeply freed and impacted by its absence! It makes me wonder how many other times in my life my kids were hoping I would make a godly decision—waiting for me to take the step. It also reminded me that doing the right thing isn’t always popular at first, but is always blessed later!

Since then, not one of us has missed a single thing about TV, and every child in our family has shared positive impacts of the decision. Lesson learned—I should have done this long ago.

Second lesson learned—I could have saved a lot of money at Christmas by just giving Haylee a pair of scissors! 🙂

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  • Brother Schmidt,

    I can relate to how T.V can have a impact on your life. I have struggled with wanting to watch my favorite shows when I realized I was spending less time in my Bible and praying for my friends! I began to schedule a time to when I wake up, my first priority is reading my Bible, spend time in prayer and do my chores like I was suppose to., it helped a lot… When i felt tempted to turn on the T.V, I would read my Bible and pray for help. God helped me with my situation, still it is a struggle but I am confident God will stregthen me! Thanks foryour message! It was a blessing!

    In Christ,

  • Bro. Schmidt,
    Thanks for sharing the story. I, too, feel that one of the greatest gifts our parents gave us was a TV-free home. Even though I enjoy watching TV, it is truly a release not to have to fight the pull of the TV. It is a battle that doesn’t have to be fought and a decision that doesn’t have to be made. We also have a no-TV month in our church every February. We have had many families share the blessing that has been for their family time and spiritual growth.

  • Hey Bro. Schmidt,

    About 3 weeks ago, I felt God press upon my heart to cancel our satellite, which my wife and I watched in the evenings. It was a tough decision since March Madness and NHL playoffs were about to start. 🙂 I too felt liberated when it was gone, and I thought you would find it funny that the only things we watch now (if we do) are the Andy Griffith and Cosby shows. We now do a lot more things together like learning Spanish, exercising, and working more at the church. It’s great to have the weight of the world off my back.

    Thanks for the article,

    Andy Ash

  • Cary,
    Not to long ago my wife and I had the same chat about the TV in our home, we too watched sports and news and she liked the Food network. We both felt it was a distraction and that it was hindering our family so I cut the cable (really) and stuck it back in he wall. It has been a huge blessing and like you I learned a lesson, I too should have done it sooner.


  • I can’t wait til this one is off, I got rid of television in 1991, only checked out movies from LBC, once in a while block buster. I couldn’t get rid of the soap operas until I had it completely disabled.

    Since 2004 we have had the dish, and always is a pain, and for the past month, been waiting and hoping it would be shut off any day. We have 3 of them going 24/7 and it does nothing but hinder us. I was sucked into a two year contract for the “sports channel” (I hate sports!) anyway, good message, and makes me glad I raised my kids in church without television. I can promise you this, there won’t be another dime spent on it, not by me anyway.


  • Definately huge step and amazing how much more time you end up having (and we thought we had none) with your kids and spouse. Here in Guatemala we have one, but it rarely is turned on, and if it is, it is for a family movie (DVD), rather than just surfing. Again thanks Cary for sharing…

  • Best thing we ever did as a family, too. I haven’t heard anyone who has disconnected their cable/sat that has regretted it. Thanks for the encouragement.


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