The 8 F's

Focused on Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, Freedom, Following, Fitness and Fun

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TV: friend or foe?

According to A.C. Nielson Co. the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day.
70% of Day Care centers use TV during a typical day.
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours.
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500.
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54.
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5. Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73.
Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59.
Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: 17

There is a reason I had cable turned off 3 years ago.  I am reminded why on those rare occasions I see a show on TV marketed to children and teens (we do subscribe to Netflix).  I confess, when my kids were little, and I had poor parenting skills, I used the TV as a babysitter.  Little did I know, the shows my kids watched, were undermining my influence over them.  The TV was teaching them that it's OK to lie.  It's OK to skip school.  It's OK to be disrespectful to others.  It's no secret that the parents on these shows are either bumbling fools or not written into the script at all.   No where are morals or guidelines taught by a parent or even a teacher.  School is a joke in much of the programming.

Children's minds develop at an accelerated rate when they are young.  Their sense of right and wrong are also developing during these very impressionable years.  As parents, we know it's our job to instill what is right or wrong behavior in our children, not the TV's.  I am not criticizing those of you who enjoy watching TV.  As a matter of fact, I enjoy TV.  But, I know that whatever I allow into my head affects my thinking.   I believe there is a place for TV and enjoy watching quality family shows and movies with my kids.  I also use it to help with homeschooling.  There are some great shows and documentaries to assist in learning history, science, religion, literary classics and even math!

According to Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test results, which are published widely on the internet, the U.S. is getting left in the dust in math, science and reading.  The PISA tests how advanced students are in these three subjects compared to students around the world.  The U.S. is trailing China, Finland and South Korea among other nations.  As of December, 2010, the U.S.A. ranked 23rd or 24th in most subjects.

A report released by the company that produces the PISA, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, suggests that the biggest difference between countries is in the "culture of education".  The Chinese have a super competitive learning environment with little emphasis on TV and extra curricular activities and sports.   They place their teachers in the highest regard.  And schools generally go later into the day, into the weekends and over the summer time.

The culture of education in America is not as competitive as it once was.  Our children are taught "what" to think and not "how" to think.  This ideology is reinforced by TV shows that undermine education and family values. You may think this is a big leap.  But what do most kids do when they get home from school? Depending on which study you read, kids spend half an hour to an hour or more watching TV vs. studying.  I realize there are other problems with our education system.  But our media does not help instill a culture of learning.  And whether we like it or not, our children are being influenced by what they watch on TV.

As I write this, it's summer time, and my kids, ages 10 and 11, get bored, like most kids their age.  I limit TV to 1-2 hours of quality programming (not documentaries) and gaming to 1-2 hours each day, and that's after they have read for 30 minutes.  This may seem extreme for some of you.  They complained about it at first, but now they know that they have to CREATE their own fun times and not rely on the TV to do it for them.  They are learning HOW to think and not what to think.  Some days they watch more than that.  But we try to stick to these limits.

Please don't get the wrong idea.  I am not bashing parents or teachers.  We don't get a rule book for parenting when we have children.  It's not easy.  And I admire and respect America's teachers.  My parents are teachers.  Teachers have their hands bureaucratically tied.  They have to accomplish much with little.  I love teachers!  It's television programming and hours spent watching bubblegum episodes that bother me.  It's how these programs are programming our nation into mindless vicarious zombies that bother me.

I want our children, the future leaders of America, to know how to think for themselves and not have it spoon fed to them through the TV.  They should be learning right and wrong from us, their parents and guardians who love them and care for them.  I want our children to know, by how much time we spend with them, that they are important and worthy of our love and attention!  We can at least be aware of what our children are watching and how it affects them. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be a better teacher than those they see on TV.

Blessings and encouragement to you and your family. : )

Friday, June 22, 2012

God Has This!

Did you ever wish for just one perfect day?  One day where no one said anything mean or insensitive.  One day where I didn't hurt someone else's feelings.  One day when I actually got everything on my todo list. One day when I was on time for everything.  One day when I was the perfect Mom or the perfect wife.  One day when I didn't burn breakfast.  One day when more than 10 people actually read my blog (that's just wishful thinking ).  I am laughing as I write this, but some days, these things really bother me.  What upsets me the most is when I have said something without thinking.  I feel like such a jerk.  How can I take it back.  It's already out of my mouth. I worry and toil over it.

I wish I could just be good all of the time.  Hah!  There is only one who lived on this earth that was perfect.  And there will never be another.  None of us are perfect.  I strive for perfection.  But some days,  I just get worn out!  I've messed up so bad, that I don't even want to try anymore.  I throw my hands in the air and scream, "I QUIT!"  Quitting doesn't mean I get a "Get Out of Jail FREE card".  It doesn't make it ok to be bad.  It just means that I can't do it without help.  When I quit, I give God control over my life.  When I quit on being perfect, I ask for forgiveness for messing things up that day.  I quit trying to control every tiny detail of my life and let God take the wheel.

It is freeing to know that the Bible says we will tire, we will be overcome with exhaustion, we will fall.  "She has wearied herself with toil." Ezekiel 24:12  And in Psalm 127:2, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sheep."  And it is comforting to know that when we do fall, God has this! Jesus reminds us that "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:30

We are not supposed to be perfect.  We are not supposed to control every detail of our life.  When we walk with our Savior, we let Him lead.  When I find myself in this I QUIT kind of day, I inevitably pull out my Bible and am reminded of the many who came before me who were not perfect, but whom God loved perfectly.  And when they let His will be done, miracles happened.

And no matter what you do, how well or how poorly, He loves you perfectly too. And if you will let Him lead you, great things will happen in your life.

Glory to God for loving us just as we are.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Live the Life You've Always Wanted

Everyday I talk to people who struggle with their life.  They float through life from one thing to another (that was me, by the way).  Nothing makes them happy.  Nothing gives them purpose or satisfaction for very long.  Life becomes boring and apathetic.  What's missing is hope for your future, or purpose..  It takes a little work to detect what your purpose is, but once you do, you will have passion in your life.  You will be excited to get up in the mornings!  Instead of living for the weekends, you will live for everyday!  Everything you do will be focused on your purpose.  It won't always be easy or blissful.  But it will be worth it.

You will begin to see that the good things in your life are not good enough.  You now live for GREAT things in your life.  Good isn't good enough for God.  He wants GREAT!  And He knows that you are worthy of GREAT.  From the day that Jesus shed His blood to wash away your imperfections, you became GREAT.  Don't settle for less.  Our God is not a God of mediocrity.  He is a God of GREATNESS!  He did not make you to be or do small things.  You were made for great things.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28  To the Pharaoh in Exodus 9:16, "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

So how do you find your purpose?  Much has been written about purpose and one of the best books I have found covers it perfectly in the first chapter.  Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward.  This book helped me to detect my purpose.  My purpose is to help you find yours.  You can purchase this book from my website or on

I pray that you will be blessed from reading this and that you detect your purpose and begin to live a life that you have always wanted.  God wants you to live your purpose as He did with King David in 1 Samuel and King Solomon in Kings.  The ripple effect of them living their lives with purpose was Jesus.  What will be your ripple effect?  Glory to God for all our GREAT blessings!