Fed up with coming home to a messy house and kids who couldn’t be troubled to clean up their own messes or to be kind to one another or us, my husband laid down the law a week or so ago. “No more computer, no more television until things change!” he said. At first, I balked. I mean these are the tools I use to get my stuff done around here.
But the computer and the television were ruling us–creating drama here in our house rather than limiting it to the small screen. And, as soon as we gave an inch and allowed a little TV here, an email check there, POW, right in the kisser–all that bad behavior came back.
Television is now intentional–we sit together and watch Survivor (I know, I know–you can’t say anything worse about the show than I have, still we’re hooked!), or Cold Case. No more Disney Channel (and I will make a case that it never, ever comes back–that space in the world where parents are either missing or stupid and children run the world, or so they think).
The girls get to check email, and type homework assignments and cast about the occasional Google search, but no one gets to sit on the computer for hours, hogging it and making the others whine that they didn’t have a turn.
In fact, no one gets to whine or we threaten to keep the experiment going on ad infinitum.
And you know what? Tonight I came home to a mostly, picked-up house. The chores were done. One child was typing a story on the computer, another was reading on the couch, and the third was practicing piano.
They whine and complain and say they miss it, but they have found new ways to be with each other and we have found new ways to be with them. It is nice to have a conversation with my children that doesn’t start with “Why didn’t you …?”
While we still get to watch television (can’t miss the Daily Show), the ultimate karma is this: the remote control has “gone missing.” AWOL. I guess it got lonely, no longer being cradled in someone’s hand for hours at a time.
No, the remote control is gone, but personal control has been re-established. Long live personal control!