A former co-worker of mine used to refer to me as an old soul – and I suspect she was mostly correct. I often feel like I was born twenty years after my time. Perhaps, it is because I listened to oldies with my mom and watched old TV shows with my dad. Whatever the reason, I feel like a kid from the 60s who was somehow transported to grow up in the 80s.
Your middle school buddies do not find you cool when you admit to enjoying television from your parents’ generation. Who cares about those outdated programs? Especially when there are so many new shows to watch? Despite the disapproval of my peers, I went on enjoying classic and modern shows alike. However, as I have aged, I have come to prefer the oldies much of the time. Here is why…
- They put me in touch with another time. Andy Griffith Show episodes have a way of filling me with comfort. In part, because they make me think of my Dad; and, in part, because I get to experience what life was like when my parents were children. Ron Howard (i.e., “Opie”) is just a year older than Mom and Dad and as he plays cops and robbers, struggles with his arithmetic, and learns the value of honesty, I feel like I am front and center for my parents’ childhoods. The family dinners make me long for those simpler days. I may never own a time-traveling DeLorean, but I can watch classic television and transport myself back in time.
- I enjoy watching gentle women care for their homes and families. Sometimes I struggle with the daily tasks of life. It never ceases to amaze me how many dirty dishes we two adults can manufacture. It seems like I am running the dishwasher constantly! And, for once, could dinner just cook itself? Even though I know these ladies are following a script, I am inspired as I watch them interact respectfully with their husbands, gently with their children, and take on mundane household chores with grace, contentment, and dignity. When I see them ironing and cooking, I do not think, “These women are not living up to their potential.” I think, “I know I can find joy in caring for my family. It is not small and insignificant to nourish and nurture those I love.” Not to mention, these TV mamas were no fools. They might have been housewives, but they offered wise advice to their husbands, did not tolerate misbehavior from their children, and created a pleasant atmosphere in their homes.
- There is a longing in my heart to return to a time when men were portrayed as, and revered to be, strong leaders. Please do not misunderstand me: there are still many strong male leaders in the world. Unfortunately, it seems like everywhere we look in the media, they are being mocked. Commercials typically make women look smart and men look like the bloomin’ idiots. (‘Tis a pet peeve of mine.) I deplore those moments when I find myself surrounded by man-haters who laugh at and disrespect men as a whole. By talking about the stupidity of men, they automatically insult my husband, my father, and other men in my life whom I admire – men who are perfectly intelligent and talented. These are men God Himself called to be the leaders of their families. It does my heart good to watch children look up to and respect their dads and to see dads shelter, protect, and provide for their households. We do not build up our society by degrading or elevating an entire sex. A little more classic TV and fewer shallow, idiotic modern shows would do our society a world of good.
- I am comforted by the innocence. When watching current shows, I expect to see or hear something that contradicts my faith – something I know in my heart I should not put in front of my eyes. “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” (Psalm 101:3, ESV). It is comforting to lie back, pull the covers up and enjoy a show free of vulgar language, off color jokes, sex scenes, and family hostility.
- They are generally mood-boosters. Going back to my last point, because these classic shows are (generally) clean, they are relaxing to me. When I watch shows filled with questionable (or completely disgusting) material, I feel anything but relaxed. But, I can flip on a good ol’ black-and-white classic and hear lessons taught on honesty, bravery, and the value of family. Deep down, it is an era I miss even though I never officially experienced it first-hand. Though I am fully aware life was not perfect in those days, there are some values I wish our media still encouraged and portrayed as good.
Of course, too much of any kind of entertainment is not good for us. When we value anything over our relationship with Christ, it becomes an idol. Even quality programming, Christian music, and good hobbies can become too important to us. It is okay to partake in these as long as we are first seeking the Lord and prioritizing Him above all else (in action and deed).
If you see television as a waste of time and prefer to spend your free hours in pursuit of the great outdoors, reading, or other projects, more power to you! There is nothing wrong with leaving your TV off or not owning one at all! However, if you do enjoy resting on the couch and drifting to another time and place, consider giving a few seasoned shows a try. They may surprise you!
Does your choice in entertainment fill your mind with positive or negative messages?