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Deep sixing the cable

When it first happened, you might have thought something horrible transpired in our home. There was crying – and outright expressions of grief, listlessness and dread.

Yeah, we killed cable last month. We pulled the plug and ended it all.

The decision came after considerable discussion and the realization that we didn’t really need it or utilize it that often. Well, some of us watched it more than others, but those parties really didn’t get a vote in the matter since it is the parents who are in charge in this household.

The “children’s” programming was filled with innuendo, smart-mouthed teenagers and a peppering of commercials heavily marketed at youngsters. After catching a young mouth repeat phrases that weren’t really age-appropriate and mimic behaviors more likely seen on a teenager as well as witnessing active children become increasingly lazy in front of the tube, we decided to make a drastic change.

Where were the educational, squeaky clean programs of my youth? Oh, yeah, those are on PBS...which we can watch without cable. We also realized that most the programs we really enjoy and frequently watch aren’t even on cable. In buying the new digital converter box, we found that we gained some new channels and one of the best is a PBS station entirely devoted to excellent children’s programming.

So what did we decide to do instead?

There are some more healthy objectives that can be met by reallocating that expense in the form of a YMCA membership. You can actually watch cable while you’re at the YMCA…while you are simultaneously walking on a treadmill or using the Stairmaster.

Occasionally, I hear people bemoan the cost of a gym membership. Those people don’t typically have a gym membership and probably haven’t actually looked into getting one. Yet, those same people think nothing of adding more movie channels to their cable package or nickel-and-diming themselves in other ways – endless fast food meals and other pointless vices. It’s about priorities.

Anything is affordable if it is important to you. You make concessions and sacrifices to meet the objectives you have for yourself and your family. You trade something out in favor of something else. You do it and sometimes you don’t even realize it, but if you sit down and look at the direction your money goes – you might be surprised. And you might find you’d rather spend it in other ways…or it would be wise of you to spend it in other ways.

About a month after cable met its end in our household, I’ve seen some very favorable changes. There is less insistence on watching television, less whining when it gets turned off and there’s been more time spent in physical activities. With the “children’s programs” removed from the household lineup, the educational channel has become a favorite. PBS, we’ve found, has an excellent channel dedicated to the kinds of children’s programs I watched as a youngster. Another great thing: the marketing has stopped, so I’m not hearing so much about, “Buy me this!” or the other random factoids about things they saw being sold on television. I certainly feel more in control of what they’re seeing and being exposed to.

Best of all – I’m seeing a lot less attitude in one little lady in our household. Someone has gone from “going-on-fifteen” back to age four and a half.


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Good to hear, I know if I ever have children they won't be watching that crap. They can suffer through the PBS like we had to!

cute and smart recipe for happpiness, jennifer...my previously adored political pundits, if they don't shed their biases, might find themselves unplugged also. great tip! thanks!

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