“Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There’s nothing you can get from a book that you can’t get from a television faster.” If you’re wondering where that sage advice comes from, hearken back to a little movie called Matilda. That’s right, this little dandy comes from Matilda’s scumbag father, played by Danny DeVito. We all get a good laugh hearing such a ridiculous claim—but hold on a minute, how many of us are spending our time each day living this philosophy out?
How About Us?
Did you watch TV this week? How much time did you spend watching in the last 7 days? Ten hours? Fifteen? More??? Watching TV’s not wrong, but it’s not particularly beneficial either. It’s nice, when you’re tired, to plop down on the couch and unwind a bit. But two hours later, are you really rested? Wouldn’t you actually be more energized an alert the following day if you had simply gone to sleep instead?
Important but Not Urgent
TV isn’t bad, but it can keep us from using our time for things that are important. Spending time with our families, improving our minds, studying and spending time with God—these are all vitally important activities that aren’t urgent. The problem comes when we put them off because they’re not urgent. We accidently fall into the result of having gone all day without really talking to our spouse, without spending time reading the Word, but how much TV time did we fit in? Oh yeah, two and a half hours.
If Only I Had the Time
Have you ever heard a friend say, “I wish I had more time to—“ What’s crazy about this statement is that anyone who has ever done that thing my friend’s wishing to do has exactly the same about of time all the rest of us have: 168 hours per week! You’re never going to have more time than that! So if you want time to do something, then allocate your time and do it! The reality isn’t that you are short on time and can’t do the thing you want; the reality is that you simply don’t want the thing you claim to want as badly as you want to watch TV (or fill in whatever other random activity or habit).
Stop Starving Your Mind
We know that reading good books is like feeding our brain. If you’ll make the decision to read a book for your personal growth every day, you will absolutely reap a beneficial harvest. It takes dedication; it takes commitment to build the habit. But you can do it, and you will begin to notice the fruit of this great habit almost immediately. Try this—just reduce your TV time by 15 minutes this week. That’s likely less than a 10% decrease. So you’re still getting 90% of your TV time in. That’s not so hard, right? Just be ready and agreeable to letting a good book shape your attitude and feed your mind, and enjoy the thriving life that will begin to unfold before you!