Friday, January 2, 2009

Maybe Not A True Confession

What better way to start a new year than to bare my two-faced soul. I’ve thought about this a lot—about how I say one thing, and mean it, but yet I do something different, or think something different. I suppose you could say that means I’m a balanced person because I understand the other side, and maybe there’s some truth to that. It’s hard for me to say there is only one way. Actually, it’s easy for me to say there is only one way; it’s just hard to follow that one way. Actually, I’m not sure I believe there is only one way. But I have to give myself some limits, because if I didn’t, I would flounder about. And when I flounder I look very unladylike.

Now. I will stop pontificating and just show you what I’m talking about. My mother always did say show, don’t tell, in regards to writing. (Come to think of it, lots of writers probably say that all the time, not only my mother. It’s just that my mother chanted that line to me, over and over again, as she tore my papers to shreds, I mean, edited my papers, so that in my mind that line is my mother's.)

*I am a die-hard homeschooler. But, just the other week when we were visiting my parents at their home and Mr. Handsome and I were out on a walk by our lonesomes, it occurred to me that if I sent my children to school then next year I would have only one child at home with me. And in two years I would have no children at home with me. I could have eight hours a day to spend as I please! Incredulous excitement welled up inside me. “Can you imagine!” I squealed to Mr. Handsome, as I bounced along on my toes for several steps. “No kids at home? Think of all the things I could do!” Of course I then realized that I would most likely promptly fill up that time with projects and work so that I would be just as busy and stressed as I am now, and sending my kids to school would open a whole new can of problematic worms, so I’m not going to do it. But that’s not the point. The point is that I can very clearly see why people do it. And I can see that I could do it, too.

*As a homeschooler, I believe that kids learn best when they are interested in what they are learning, and I think a lot of (maybe all of) rote school work is unnecessary. In fact, I think curriculums aren’t really beneficial, and are quite possibly detrimental. But, despite my gut feelings and reading the works of good, well-founded research that supports my gut feelings, I still buy the occasional curriculum and have them do some workbook pages.

*I am adamantly opposed to TV. I have lots of reasons, some of which I’m sure I’ll write about here (a whole chapter of our book is dedicated to anti-TV rants). However, and here I am ducking my head and mumbling, IlovetowatchTV.

When Mr. Handsome and I lived in Nicaragua, we craved TV. We fantasized that the multicolored wall-hanging that was above our little makeshift sofa (a piece of bedsheet-wrapped foam on a board) hid a huge flatscreen TV. Occasionally we would travel and need to stay in a hotel, and then we made certain we picked out hotels that had cable TV. We would flop on the bed and watch TV for hours. The highspeed chitter-chatterings and the swirling colors numbed our minds. Granted, our little splurges into mainstream media did not restore our weary souls, but they did grant us a means of escape, and that was worth the extra twenty-five or fifty córdobas that we had paid for the higher-scale hotel room.

Furthermore, I like to watch movies. And I like to watch movies with the kids. And sometimes Iusemoviesasababysitter.

Whew, saying that was really hard.

But now for the biggest confession, which isn’t really a confession of a hypocrisy---it’s more of a Laying-Bare-My-Soul type of thing. The first two items I listed are just revealing how I think. I mean, I’m still homeschooling my kids, and no one can really fault me for struggling to discern my way as I teach my children. Muddling through is a given.

But that part about TV and movies, well. I have good reasons for hating the machine (maybe I should write about those next because otherwise you might be thinking that I’m a rebel without a cause), and here I am doing what I hate. Admitting that I like TV is really not all that difficult because all feeling are okay, and at least I’m practicing what I preach: we don’t have one (kind of). But watching movies? How different is that, really, from TV? They both involve staring at a little box.

Oh, and this part is where things get muddy and murky and just plain unsettling. Because what am I doing right now? I’m staring at a little box as I type on this here computer.

Is there really that much difference between TV and movies and the internet and the computer? There are obvious differences, yes, but I am fully (well, okay, at least partially) aware of how many hours of my week are directed at this little screen. How would I, my family, and my community be different if this little box were not a part of my life? Could I go for one week without emailing, blogging, typing, watching DVDs? What about six months?

I could still write, of course. We do have pen and paper, after all.

What would I gain if I gave up this little black (um, actually it’s gray) box? My mother used to say something like: “You must desire to do the right thing. If doing the right thing is your deepest desire, than giving up the bad stuff isn’t as hard.”

I’m not ready to give it up (and one could argue that I shouldn’t, but let’s leave that argument alone for now), and I probably never will be ready. Not unless I can clearly see the benefits, which would involve drastically creative measures in which I would desperately seek out ways to entertain myself and stave off boredom, such as having people over for dinner, volunteering, or taking a class. I would go outside more (maybe). I would definitely read more.

How much of my life am I missing out on because of this little box?

This post has turned way more pensive than I had originally intended. I’m afraid I’m making myself a tad too vulnerable. Baring my inconsistencies is not all fun and games... Oh no! It just now occurred to me that I have royally floundered my way through this post---now I have done gone and proved that I am not a lady. Rats. My only comfort is that I know none of you can point fingers at me, in regards to the media, since—Ha! Gotcha’!—you are reading this post.

I’m not deciding anything just yet, and I maybe never will. If I don’t, though, then this is not a true confession, since true confessions are supposed to lead to change.

In the meantime, I’m gonna go check facebook and read some other blogs.

Note: The list of things I am two-faced about is really much longer than those measely three points. But I'm pretty worn out after writing about those. I may add to the list at a later date, but please, please be ladylike and refrain from pointing out my hypocrisies for me. As my mother always says, "Remove the log from your own eye before trying to take the speck out of someone else's eye." Or did some other great person say that, like maybe Jesus?

2 comments:

  1. Today it's taken mild nausea to keep me flat on my back or side, sipping Ginger Ale, eating crackers, and reading Gone with the Wind. Right now I'm taking a break to consume screen time, while M is out on a walk and N is napping. I'd better get back to the couch before either of them discovers me...

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  2. A resounding Me Too! to all 3 of your confessions. (Okay, well maybe a couple of them are more like "me too, to a certain degree," but "a resounding Me Too!" is more dramatic.)

    Although I wouldn't mind not having one, we do have a TV, and guess which parent is the TV Nazi? Yup, me. Just today we had a big, loud, cranky "discussion" with Spaz in which he complained about having to earn Electronic Entertainment time by getting his daily list done in a timely manner and how unfair it was that he can earn a maximum of only 4.5 hrs/week (a multitude of freebies & loopholes notwithstanding, courtesy mostly of Hubz). And afterward, Hubz was insinuating that maybe I should limit my own computer time to 4.5 hours a week (plus freebies & loopholes, I should have pointed out) and make myself earn "blogging tickets" for getting my to-do list done. And I did NOT like that at all. (Actually, the same thought has occured to me on my own, but I like it even less when it's *his* thought.)

    I really have thought as well about what sorts of creative and productive things i might be doing if I didn't blog. And you know what? I'd spend the time doing the same things I used to do before I blogged:
    sudoku, kakuro, logic problems, crosswords... At least with blogging I am interacting with other people. (I think.)

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