Living Life “Outside of the Box”

No I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth – we just arrived home from two weeks away. After running the program staff for a youth summer camp, we spent the following week enjoying our annual Lambdin family & friends camping trip to Lake Tahoe.  I have lots to share with you all about our summer adventures, our “barn raising”, adoption progress and my “fat face” update – but for today before tackling the mounds of mail & messages, loads of laundry and organization for the upcoming (far too fast for me!) school year – I wanted to write a quick post about….

Living Life Outside of the Box

The particular “box” I am talking about is the one that seems to command center stage in most of our homes – the television.  Last year I came across a website that challenged us to take the month of August and “Live Life Outside the Box” – in other words unplug your TV set for a month and spend that time doing other worthwhile pursuits.  We took the challenge and added our own ban on computer games and all other electronic entertainment, media and non essential computer time(ie: mindless web surfng). We – or perhaps I should say “I” – the Momma, have decided that this “fast” should become an annual tradition for our family.  It is a perfect time of year to do it as we are winding down the summer with a couple of weeks to enjoy family activities and as we need to focus on preparing and organizing for another academic year.

Now, I do need to tell you that unplugging the “boob tube” (as my mother called it) is not a huge sacrifice for our family.  We do not have cable (and never have had it – in fact the first five years of our married life we did not even own a TV) and therefore we only get fuzzy reception on three channels if we go through the hassle of hooking up an antennae.  This alone keeps us from watching hardly any television on a regular basis.  About the only time the actual television goes on is when we are watching a sporting event (mostly football games and March Madness College Basketball).  We also have chosen to never have our TV in the main living and dining area of our home.  This keeps it from being the focus of our attention and we NEVER (yes in capital letters & bold) watch the TV while we are eating meals. (I cannot emphasize enough how important meal time conversations are to all relationships – if you do nothing else turn off your TV during dinner & eat around the table)  We do however enjoy watching movies on DVD’s, probably more often than we should.  After our month of “Living Life Outside of the Box” in 2007, we decided to continue the “habit” throughout the school year on Monday through Friday.  It was a great discipline as well as keeping us focused on more productive activities.

Can you and your family take the month and unplug the TV, video games, movies and live life “outside the box”?  Or perhaps a month might put you “over the edge” – how about a week or 10 days?  I can gaurantee you that if you think you just “couldn’t do that” – you probably need to! 🙂

Check out this statistic:

The average American watches over 4 1/2 hours of television every single day!


Let’s add that up. That is 31½ hours every week (almost a second job!). That also adds up to 5½ solid days per month and more than two entire months every year. By age 70 that is over 13 years watching television! Aren’t there more important things you would rather be doing with this time? For those like me saying I don’t watch that much TV – do your own math – do you watch 2 hours a day? (thats 15 hours a week, one month out of the entire year, 6+ years of your lifetime) Or maybe you just watch an hour a day – what could you do with 7 extra hours this week?  Gives you something to think about.

Worse, according to the most recent figures from Nielsen, the average American household has a TV playing somewhere in their household for 8 hours 14 minutes per day.  How is there any time available to develop meaningful relationships, pursue worthwhile endevours or make a difference in the community or world? 

The number one queston/statement I get from others about my life is this –

“How do you do it all?” or “I don’t know how you do it all.”

Well, I don’t watch TV and maybe that is a large part of the answer. (although let me be the first to admit that I don’t do it all and I certainly don’t do it all very well!)

Here is a “short list” of some fun and relaxing things you could do with your extra time this month

  • Have a family game night
  • Read a book (or write one!)
  • Have coffee with a friend
  • Go on a walk (and take your spouse or child)
  • Plant a garden
  • Begin to learn to play an instrument or learn a language (easily done with 15 hours a week put in!)
  • Take a class (or teach one)
  • Host a dinner party
  • Volunteer or do community service
  • Call your Mom, Dad, sibling, long lost friend & chat
  • Bake or cook something new
  • Do something with your priceless photos 
  •  Journal
  • Soak your feet in warm water and give yourself a pedicure
  • Go out & throw a ball or play sports with your kids
  • Write a letter (yes with a paper, pen and a stamp)

Will you join us this month (or at least a part of it) in Living Life “Outside of the Box”?


Filed under Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins, Time Management

3 responses to “Living Life “Outside of the Box”

  1. How would anyone find 4.5 hours of TV worth watching in a single day? I can’t even find that much in a week.

    Living without TV isn’t a problem for us. Our TV is rarely on more than 3 hours a week – mostly for pre-recorded shows, DVD movies, or shows streamed on the internet.

    Our kids (ages 7 and 9) are allowed to spend their Handipoints (chore chart earnings) to watch TV (no more than an hour a day), but they rarely do. They save up their points for bigger things or prefer to read or play with toys and friends outside!

    Now, if “living outside the box” meant giving up my computer, it would be a different story! Email, Twitter, blogs, online news (since we don’t read a newspaper or watch tv news), photo organizing, digital scrapbooking – I do love my computer and internet, and have since 1989. That said, I have no problem walking away from it for a week at a time cold turkey on vacation, so maybe I’m ok. (-:

  2. My family and I did this last year as well. What kicked it off for us is a paper I had to do for school. I wrote my paper on the negative effects excessive television viewing has on us. I couldn’t believe the statistics! We should stop sitting around watching reality shows and create our own exciting reality. My girls love watching the cooking channel, so I put them in a cake-decorating class so they would be able to do it, instead of watch it!

  3. How funny too be reading this, I just decided this weekend after going to a Shaun Groves concert with my three younger children and hearing him talk about Compassion International, that we are truly spoiled in this country with all we have so it was time to make more of a sacrifice and that would be not watching T.V. on Sundays. My husband is military and deployed right now and I warned him about it because he’s the worst when it comes to t.v. he’ll keep it on all day and when he’s gone I try to keep it off as much as possible, I have enough noise with my kids in the house. I have to admit that I have slacked lately with him gone and it seems to be my babysitter, with four kids I have a tuff time getting things done, but have decided that my older ones can pitch in a lot more so I will be making it a commitment each Sunday to keep it off and less on other days of the week. I am looking forward to spending more quality time with them I told them that after church we will go out and have a picnic or do whatever they want on that day. Thanks for your insight on it as well, might take a while to get up to a whole month but we’ll take it step by step

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