Let's Chat "Media"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When I launched The Unplugged Family, it was with a desire to raise media awareness.  For a while, I was working hard at launching my own project - to speak to various schools, community groups, and churches about media issues and awareness.  I felt called and lead to do it and, for the most part, I loved it.  I spent years studying media and pop-culture and it burdened me to see where society was heading (and where we've already landed).

Here's what I found though - the more I talked about pop-culture and media, the more I worried about hurting people's feelings or offending parents.  Comments online and in person would bring me to tears.  I felt people just didn't understand my heart. 

People have said things like:

"Oh, we just bought a new TV, but I better not talk to you about THAT.  You'd disapprove."
*gulp, no I wouldn't.  Our choices are ours, and yours are yours.  Let's be friends.

"Can I check my cell phone in front of your kid, or is that too much screen time?"
*Um... really?

And the one that broke my heart and made me cry:

"I feel sorry for your daughter to have you as her Mother."  (After I stated that I just didn't feel right about putting my daughter in dance.)
*Oh, my goodness.

It's hard to put yourself out there with a 'different' mentality.  I've often prayed and cryed out to God - how do I live differently and stand for what I know is right, yet, not offend others or appear judgemental or legalistic?  Do I just keep my mouth shut tight when I know I've been called to speak truth to these issues that plague the modern family?

I've confided in other home educators, sometimes, all I have to do is exist and I'm offending some one.  Simply live differently (even only in home educating) and others get up in arms.  I don't have to do a single thing or say anything!  I feel like sometimes, people see you living counter-culturally and instantly assume you are judging them because they don't do it like you do.  Can I tell you- nothing could be further from the truth for me?

My heart - it's huge.  I honestly love people.  All kinds of people.  A respect and love for diversity is one of the biggest focuses of our homeschool and family life.  I really hope people who know me well, know my soul.  Everything I write and speak about comes from a place of utter imperfection (honestly, I completely flail and am on this journey along with everyone else) and love.  We are just a normal family that has chosen to say no to certain cultural norms.  We're still figuring out how to do a lot of it.  And I know there are many, many like us.  I've met them and they are fabulous!  (Hi, by the way!)

We have a cell phone, yes.  Haha.  We have a tablet too (though I still can't figure it out).  By the way, it took my husband 12 years to collect enough Air Miles to get the free Blackberry tablet... so, keep saving.    And he have two computers too.  We aren't compltely cut off from the modern world.  I have a blog, for goodness sake!  I use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook - and I really, really enjoy it!  It's all about moderation, friends.

My husband and I - we're just passionate about living a Christ-centered, intentional life.  And we want to welcome others to come on this journey with us.  For us, that means saying 'no' to a lot of what the world throws at us.  It's a journey. We're not there yet.  As I write this, my kids are watching "Wild Kratts".  So, yes, they are normal kids who have some screen time.  We're not superhuman!

Reducing screen time, tossing TV, minimizing our exposure to pop culture, cherishing and focusing on our outdoors time, these are life choices that have revealed buckets of truth in our lives.  It has pulled us towards a much more intentional, rich, yet, simple life.  And hey, I'm pumped to share those discoveries with you and your family because I love you.  I love people.  I care about families.  I want to see families healthy and strong and living a full, joy-filled life.

I'm motivated and brought to my knees when I receive emails from Moms who share with me that through this small blog, they've been inspired to toss TV and reduce video game time in their home.  And guess what? There whole family dynamic changed and they are living a much richer life.  They are close to their husband, kids, and neighbors.  PRAISE GOD.  These are the stories that make me realize, there is truth to be told!

I don't believe all media is evil.  I do, however, believe most forms of pop culture exist to steal joy and stir up feelings of discontentment.  Mainstream media is a distraction from why we're really here - to love. 




Everything I write or speak, friends, it's in love.  Deep rooted love.  For your heart.  For your marriage.  For your family.  For your kids.  For your future.  (And mine...)

I know it's part of my calling - this media education of sorts.  I've just been fearful of it because it causes such a stir, it seems.  But God has used the past few years to really teach me and mold me.  Yes, He's pounded pride out of me too.  He has opened my eyes wide to how I can share in humble love but still speak truth.  And I'm trying my best.  Please know, I'm trying my best.

I feel lead to share more posts about media and pop culture related topics.  Because I believe these issues are incredibly relevant for today's kids and today's families.  I'm praying for direction and wisdom and truth.  I'm praying for our families, facing an onslaught of lies and propaganda every single day.

Friends, His truth prevails.  He has already won over the monster of 'this world'.  My heart aches to bring darkness into light.

So, starting next week, we will be talking about media topics that I know many of you will relate to.  The first thing I'd like to discuss is the issue of media in the bedroom.  We will open up about why it is so important to get the screens our of our children's rooms and out into the open spaces of our homes.  There'll even to an oppotunity to share your thoughts and experiences with this topic.  Let's launch a movement to get screens out of our children's rooms.

I'm excited to share with all of you and so excited for the future of this blog.

All for His glory and all in love...






Growing Home   

16 comments:

  1. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galatians 6:9

    Praying for strength and courage as you tackle this subject and follow your heart. It is a very good and noble and necessary thing. You go girl!

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  2. I am really looking forward to these upcoming posts because I am sick of media distracting my life and my children's lives. It's even overdone in their school with the requirement of ipads and such. I want ideas for how to scale back and be different, so, thank you for sharing yours. I appreciate them, even if they don't fit quite the same way into our family as they do for yours.

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  3. Looking forward to reading your post. I would love to eliminate screen time for my toddler, I have tried in the past. It seems that after 3 straight hours of playing, I need a mental break. So I let her watch Dora the Explorer. If I could increase my stamina, I wouldn't need the TV, she just doesn't really play alone.

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  4. Keep on keeping on! I appreciate your heart and your posts. This information is needful for families!

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  5. Oh lovely that you are still blogging "Unplugged"! Like I had said to you already - it's what drew me to your blog and finding someone so passionate about this issue is engouraging! :D I know and totally realate to the whole, "I don't have to do anything and I'll offend someone!" It's true people assume a person is judging if they are being different. I know as a family we try to make some 'radical' choices and often struggle with the exact issues you are talking about. How to live for God they way you feel Him calling you and not offend anyone. But in the end if you are living for God and doing all things by and through Him, then we have to not worry about others and what they think so much. Oh and AMEN to Loving on all people - it's what Christ wants us to do and it is such a beautiful way to live!

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  6. I just want to tell you that I appreciate you. I appreciate what you do. I have an 8 year old (still) little girl and I want to keep her that way for as long as possible. We have mostly unplugged and it has enriched our lives in so many fulfilling ways. So thank you!! Thank you for the inspiration to continue living outside of pop culture and thank you for exposing yourself for something you believe in. Please know that I will be praying for you.

    Wendy

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  7. Cassandra, please let your heart not be troubled! I find it interesting (and pretty sad) that when people criticize what we're doing because it's not the "norm," they back away from us. Remember, God will allow certain people for certain seasons in our lives, and He'll continue to remove those who need to be. I don't take joy in that, believe me, but I know that His plans are greater because He loves us! I have been so blessed by you, and I am looking forward to your new series. I, too, struggle with the media in our home, and God is dealing with us day by day. I pray for strength, guidance, and love for you, sister!

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  8. Hi, Cassandra. I just stumbled across your blog and while I almost never post comments online, I somehow felt compelled to when I read how hurt you've been by other people's thoughtless remarks.
    All my life (I'm about to turn 44) I've been different from most people in all kinds of ways and it seems like I'm forever dealing with rudeness, insensitivity, and ignorance.
    For instance, I'm the antithesis of a girly-girl: I have short hair, wear no makeup, don't carry a purse, and couldn't care less about clothes and I can't tell you how many times I've endured strange looks, judgment, and lectures on the virtues of doing and being the way women are "supposed to."
    I also don't have cable (just a television/DVD/VCR that requires me to actually choose what I'm going to watch instead of being mindlessly guided by what's on) and I get similar reactions over that. If you can believe it, an acquaintance of mine who found out I didn't have cable said to me, with an incredible expression of disbelief and confusion on her face, "What do you do at night after work?", as if watching TV were the ONLY possible way to spend free time. (Actually, that unquestioning mentality seem far more disturbing and sad than not having cable, but hey, that' s just me!)
    I could go on and on with scores of other examples, but the point of all this information about me (sorry for that, by the way) is that after many years of this kind of thing, I've come to understand that most people follow the herd and lead unexamined lives. When someone who's trying to live consciously or differently comes along and upsets their equilibrium, they feel threatened and instead of exploring their inner selves for the reason, they simply lash out at the person/thing they see as the cause of it. They probably don't mean to be hurtful.
    So, bottom line: you have to go where YOUR heart leads and remember that the people in history who have created a better world have never been the ones who just walked off the edge of the cliff like lemmings. (While I'm not a Christian myself, it does come to mind that Christ was one of the world's revolutionary people who asked others to look at the things a different way). It'll probably still hurt sometimes to deal with people's reactions, but in the end it'll be worth it to live the way you believe is right.
    I commend you for your courage to live differently and especially for your desire to experience more of those "buckets of truth" by eliminating technological distractions. If we all lived like you, the world would be a far better place.

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  9. I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog.. and I completely and totally know how you feel. I wonder oftentimes how people can be so cruel, and why they would want to be.. but again its worth it to be 'different' than everyone else, as long as we know in our hearts that its true. I blog a lot about unplugging, from many social media forms, and I've learned so often again and again that people LOVE to rake me across the coals for my beliefs.. to think I'm overbearing, to think my kids are 'missing out' on a life that I don't WANT them to have because I had that life and I wish more than anything that I could change my childhood to more resemble theirs. I am glad to know that I'm not alone. Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for blogging. Yours was one of the first blogs I began to follow when I started blogging, and still is one of my favorites!!! :) God bless you for what you do!

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  10. Thank you for your post! We are an 'unplugged' family and loving it ... I know what you mean about being non-judgmental. This is what we believe God has called our family to do and we are simply following His word. Keep on encouraging. I look forward to your future posts. :)

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  11. all humans hate correction, so when people see or hear that you are doing something right , some of them are going to get openly mad at you . just keep planting the seeds , some of them will take.

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  12. Don't let other's opinions make you back down from what you believe. People who criticize what you do or mention that they probably shouldn't talk about certain things in front of you are just insecure about what they do themselves. They have let the "fear of man" into their lives rather than the fear of God. They aren't firm in what they believe nor do they really think about these things themselves and so lash out against others in their insecurity.
    Keep doing what you're doing. I love it and we're on the same page as you, and it's nice to read about it! And keep praying for those who refuse to see the truth and don't want to get out of their comfortable media rut and grow and live for God.
    p.s. have you ever read "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman? I have it but have yet to tackle it...looks good.

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  13. You go girl! I sure appreciate your posts, it's almost like you take the words out of my mouth sometimes. Thanks for helping me stay focused on my core values, one of them is minimizing screen time. Another of course, to passionately follow Jesus with my whole heart and teach my kids to do the same.

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  14. I'm going to follow your blog! I'd love to learn what you have to share!
    --Gena

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  15. I'm catching up on my blog reading and this just breaks my heart. Having lived most of my life being 'different' than the culture, I've experienced much of the same. We did a lot of homeschool media growing up and just LOVED talking to secular media because they though the idea of homeschooling was so cool and 'out there'. Talking to Christian media outlets was much more difficult as we encountered a lot of misconceptions that we were judging everyone and being holier than thou. Over and over we had to share that this was our family's conviction and we were sharing with media so that other people could hear about it and know that there were multiple educational options available.

    On a related note, growing up in the homeschool community meant that we encountered people who were more out of the box culturally than we were. It was so cool to develop those relationships. I had friends who only wore long denim dresses and head coverings. They loved Jesus and recognized that I did too even though I wore a tanktop and shorts. It was neat to see how relationships could develop despite our differences... I always try to keep that in mind as I interact with others.

    Keep on writing. We don't have cable, but do get 2 or three channels and my hubby is a huge football fan. I wish I could chuck the TV entirely, but for the time being we settle for muting commercials. I'm in faith that we will get to move to protecting their hearts and eyes even more next football season somehow, someway...

    I'm a huge proponent of limiting screentime and have enjoyed reading your posts on the topic. It has been a joy to watch my boys learn how to play and entertain themselves as DVD's and movies are only a very, very rare treat around here and we don't watch television aside from football.

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  16. You have completely written what is in my heart. One of my favorite scriptures in 2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there on such a sensitive topic. I think people get so defensive, because deep down they know that what you're talking about is truth and truth hurts sometimes. No one likes to feel that way. What you're doing is important, so keep at it!

    When my husband and I got married we were students, so we agreed to not get a TV. We did watch shows on free sites online, mostly commercial free, and that was good enough. We graduated from school and still never got a TV. We didn't miss it too much. For one, I hate commercials and we loved telling the cable companies who would call us on the phone that we didn't own a TV. Imagine their shocked silence! haha!

    It wasn't until after 6 years of marriage that we finally purchased a TV, but we happily shun cable and regular TV. We do use Netflix but we are very picky about what we let our children watch. Even with us being careful, we were letting screen time get longer and longer. And for me watching a movie or show online has long been a destresser instead of food. However, I have been pulled more and more into watching more and more. Thank you so much for taking the time to write about this. It helps us who are trying to be conscious, but maybe slip up and let screen time take more time than it should. I need to be on the path to finding other ways of destressing so I can wean myself off the screen!

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