We have not missed our television since we sent it away four years ago. We barely watched it when we had it. They only channels that we had clear reception on were ABC and PBS. A person can only take so much of the Lawrence Welk Show and British sitcoms, you know?
I grew up in a home with a television. My siblings and I loved watching all the classics. When we were little we were all about "Sesame Street," "Mr. Rogers", and "Captain Kangaroo". In the summers or after school we loved to watch "Little House on the Prairie", "Leave It to Beaver", "The Munsters", and "The Brady Bunch". In the evenings, the news would be on. First, the local news and then Peter Jennings would give us all the latest world happenings. We watched the news with our parents. We read the newspapers and clipped current events to bring into our social studies classes. We were very aware of the happenings in our local community, our state, our country and the world. I don't ever remember feeling scared or stressed watching the news.
Then I grew up and had children of my own and suddenly I began watching the news in a different light. The reporting somehow had changed or was it the world? There were news reports and stories that disturbed me so much and were so hard to reconcile in my adult mind, that I could not even imagine letting my kids see them. Pete and I decided not watch the news when the kids were around. We felt like we needed to protect them and to filter through what they needed to know and not to know.
This especially hit home with the September 11th attacks. We chose to not let our kids watch coverage of those horrific happenings. They were all so young at the time and it would have scared them for life. We knew that we would have to explain to them that something had happened, but we did that in our own time and way.
And so it goes with the events of last week. Our oldest kids knew right away about the bombings and the accident in Texas. I was able to have several long discussions with our high school aged son. He was not interested in viewing the online news with all the details and photos. He didn't feel the need to do that and I am glad. In my opinion, its more information than a teenager needs. Heck, its more information than I need. I actually wish that I hadn't seen some of the images or read some of the details. Maybe, I am just too sensitive? Or maybe, no one can really process that kind of trauma and tragedy without a profound impact.
Our youngest monkeys do not know what happened last week and we are glad for that. We will tell them in our own way in our own time. We just can not bear the thought of them seeing or hearing news that is too much for them to comprehend at such tender ages. Once they see the images or hear the details, you can't take it back, so we choose to protect them now.
Maybe some people may read this and think that we are crazy or controlling, or that we doing our kids a disservice by not being honest with them about last week's events. That's okay. Everyone parents differently. I am not saying that our parenting style is right or wrong, but it's ours' and it works for our family.
So friends, I would love to hear your feedback on this topic. What is your family philosophy on news watching or newspaper reading? Is no Gnews good Gnews for you? Or do you have a different approach?
P.S. Does anyone who grew up in the 80's remember the Great Space Coaster show? The one with Gary Gnu, the anchor monkey? Here's a little video to refresh your memory, because if you grew up in the 80's, you may need some memory refreshers from time to time :-)