The Zionist Conspiracy
Friday, January 06, 2006
Apropos of my post about Orthodox Jews and TV, a friend who wishes to remain anonymous has sent me the following thought provoking anecdote:
So a few weeks ago, my 8-year old son came home and informed us that he doesn't want to read or watch anything "Goyish". No videos or DVDs, no TV, no books, no graphic novels (i.e. comics). Yesterday he came home and told us that he wants us to throw out our TV. (The majority of boys in his class have TVs.)
I know this kid and I know that he couldn't handle not having any form of entertainment. He loves to read. He loves to watch Transformers and Pokemon.
My wife's reaction about TV is "Good for him. He's right." I agree. She was a little hesitant about the whole thing about no books, but I think it's great also. He should be learning Torah.
But that's all in theory. The kid just doesn't have the ability to sit still for 15 minutes and there is no way that he could spend all his free time learning. I encourage him all the time but he just can't handle more than a few minutes at a time of independent study. Plus, I don't like the attitude of "Goyish". There's nothing wrong with a good story regardless of who the author is. And there's nothing wrong with fantasy and make-believe.
So I sat him down and first gave him a talk about how there are different people within the frum world. Some will only eat Chalav Yisroel and some will eat M&Ms etc. Some have payos and some don't. Some will read books and go to college and some won't. He will have different rebbes in his life and some will tell him that some things are good while others will tell him differently. As long as he's with his parents, he will follow our rebbes and practices. He will eat non-Chalav Yisroel, go to college, etc. Every family is different and he is part of our family where we are more open to books and college. He shouldn't feel any less frum because of it.
Then I asked him if he knows why we watch TV. He said so that we don't get bored. I told him absolutely not. If you are bored then you open up a Chumash. However, when people get older the day becomes busier and busier and everyone needs a little time to relax. Everyone relaxes differently depending on what calms them down. Some relax by taking a long walk. Others relax by reading a magazine. And others relax by watching a little TV.
Then I told him that it might be better if we limit his intake of TV and videos to Friday afternoon. That way, if he really wants to watch TV on other days he can remember that he'll be able to watch in a few days. He agreed to this. And he's still reading books late at night.