Sunday, August 22, 2010

Call of Duty

Tomorrow is the first day of a new school year. Wiley the student has been in six-days-a-week, nine-hours-a-day marching band camp for the past three weeks. Ricky the teacher started back a week ago. Monday, an easy class day, will actually be a respite for both of them.

I usually dread the starting of school because of the exponential increase in laundry. Wiley shifts from wearing his pajamas all day, every day, to real clothes, while Ricky switches from shorts and a t-shirt to long pants and long sleeved shirts in addition to his shorts and t-shirt when he gets home.

But this year is an exception. With summer band, club soccer and rock work around the house, my boys have been sweating through two to three sets of clothes a day. Monday begins a respite for the washer and dryer, too.

Wiley also had to finish his summer reading and class assignments over the past few weeks. He has always done well in school, but high school steps it up a notch and I have been concerned how he would fit band, soccer, homework and sleep around his busy X-box schedule.

My prior efforts to minimize gaming time have been futile with both Wiley and his older brother. I have tried setting timers, keeping logs, or arranging rewards to get the boys to self-limit.

When that inevitably failed, I have unplugged or disconnected the TV or limited time spent in the den. But I have not had the stamina to follow through and enforce any of these schemes. Once my head is down working, the TV is on and a kid is in front of it. If I don't nag or yell, my silence (or grumble) is taken as implicit permission.

But with Wiley's understanding and agreement, I may have found the ultimate solution. At least it has worked for the past two weeks.

Brown paper and packing tape, that's the trick.

My goal is for us, Ricky and me included, to consciously choose when we watch shows or play games, rather than making the TV a companion to everything we do.

I have tried limiting the accessibility of the kitchen television as well, since that's where the most mindless TV watching occurs. I have been putting a pillowcase over the screen and hiding the remote control, but so inconsistently it hasn't mattered.

This parenting stuff wears me down. But that is what moms are called to - responsibility. And when we can't say "no" one more time, God answers prayer. The kitchen television died a natural death last night.

Now if He would help me out a little with the internet connections on our Ipods, computers and cell phones, my duty would be done.


Jennifer said...


Allyson said...

Love this! I have made a conscious decision to watch less tv too!!

Ricky Balthrop said...

I'm going to comment as soon as my show is over.

Sherry said...

OK--the brown paper is priceless. You go, girl.