I will be the first to admit that I have used my television as a babysitter. I would often try to get my children to sit there long enough to get dinner on the stove, to take my turn reading Arabic in the on-line class I attend,or just for a moment to myself. They would usually sit a couple minutes then be up again looking for something to do. The TV would be there for background noise.
Growing up, My family basically had 2 channels(well 3 if we could position the rabbit ears perfectly). I lived in an area that was not cable accessible. The only option was a satellite dish and my mother wasn’t keen on the idea. I spent my summers running around all day outside and would stay in Saturday for the morning cartoons. It seemed such a treat to be able to watch the cartoons every Saturday morning. So, naturally, I assumed, my kids would love to watch tv too.
So, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that our rental house has been sold. I thought we had a week to get out so I unhooked the television and packed it up to go. Well, our moving date kept changing due to maintenance issues in the new place. One day, my kids were being particularly rambunctious so I decided to hook the TV back up and try to get them to settle down for a few minutes. Well, I plugged it in and hooked the cable up. Then, I turned it on. The cable wouldn’t work. It was a blank screen. I tried everything and still couldn’t get it to work. So, I decided to have them “help me cook.” The next week was spent with no television and no DVDs. Instead of the TV more time was spent as a family unit. We spent more time playing outside together and doing crafts and other activities.
I have noticed in the past week without the television a major change in my kids. They don’t seem to fight with each other as much. Their attention spans have improved. Now, they actually can sit and focus while reading a book with no visuals or while giving them directions. Their overall mannerisms and behavior have gone a complete 180 for the better. I am pleasantly amazed.
So, it seems, in my quest to give my children everything that I thought I would have wanted as a child it has backfired. Perhaps, in doing so, I was depriving them of the one thing they really did need and want, me and more of my time and attention. Today, I was out and thought of buying a new tv. I hesitated and then walked away. I like my family better this way.
Now, don’t think I’m going on a rant saying television is evil and it’s the devil. Not at all, I realize some television in moderation can be educational for children. I am just sharing my experience of a week without television.
Abdullah ibn Umar t reported that he heard the Prophet Muhammad (saw)saying: “Every one of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it so all of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and things under your care).” (Bukhâri 3/592)
Abu Hurairah t narrated that Allah’ Messenger said, “When a man dies, accrual of merit in his favor from good deeds ceases except from three actions: 1. A charity which continues after his death; 2. Knowledge left behind from which men continue to benefit, and 3. Righteous offspring who pray for him.” (Muslim 4005)
Some cool craft websites(of course use your discretion as to picking out what is Islamic):