How Do Families Have Time For Cable TV And Smartphones?

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

In yesterday’s letter, The Peculiar And Impractical Tradition Of Tithing 10%I suggested that perhaps part of the reason our family is able to tithe 10% of our income is because we don’t pay for cable TV or smartphones.

Of course, it’s been that way since Mommy and I got married on July 5, 2008. So by the time you came along 2 years ago, it was simply the norm; already established as our family’s culture.

But honestly, the fact that we don’t spend money on those things isn’t really much of a sacrifice on our end. What I can’t seem to grasp is how our family would find the time in our time-starved schedule to watch enough TV or utilize the wonders that a smartphone can do.

Maybe I should blame it on that episode of Saved By The Bell where Zack Morris has to call his dad on his cell phone to get his attention, though they’re already in the same room. Maybe I fear getting so caught up in the convenience of modern technology and entertainment that I allow myself miss out on quality time with you.

Our family struggles so much already with budgeting what little time we have together,  so even sacrificing only 10% of our time on those things would cause a strain on our family dynamics.

And again, if we only gave 10% of our free time to cable TV and smartphones, we wouldn’t be getting our money’s worth.

I try to imagine how distracted and unsettled I would be if I had a smartphone. I personally would not do well. Though I’m only 31, I don’t fit some of the token Generation Y traits like keeping up with the latest technology, and therefore, entertainment.

During the day at work, it would be extremely difficult for me to focus on getting anything done; knowing I could be discretely checking my email or looking random stuff up on my phone.

The best thing for me is to not have Internet on my phone. That helps keep me grounded, and honestly, helps keep my head clear enough to write you 6 days a week.

Similarly, I feel that if we had DVR and could record shows from dozens (or is it hundreds?) of channels, I would get overwhelmed quickly.

You, Mommy, and I somehow find a normal life in having basic (and outdated!) phones and paying just 8 bucks a month for Netflix streaming as our entertainment. You get to watch Mater’s Tall Tales everyday (and apparently never get tired of it) and Mommy and I get to catch up on the new season of Portlandia.

Of course, I’m very aware that our lifestyle is… counter-cultural. I ask, “How do families have time for cable TV and smartphones?”

Meanwhile, they are probably wondering, “How does that family function without those things?”

I just don’t see how our family is cut out to be that modernized when it comes to the tech and entertainment world. And ironically, that’s coming from a daddy blogger.





P.S. This 2 minute clip of Portlandia demonstrates what I fear would happen to me…


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