The kids and I have been in a reading haze for the last few weeks. We all got new, great books for Christmas and we’ve been cocooned in piles of pillows and blankets, devouring them ever since. It’s been really great but I have a confession to make. I miss watching TV with my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love books and love reading but I also really enjoy TV. And TV is something we can do together.
Often TV is viewed as a passive experience while books are thought to be more interactive- I don’t really understand this. Both TV and books have the potential to open us to new ways of viewing the world, new people, places and ideas. Both have high quality story telling along with really trashy options. Both have fiction, non-fiction and a mixture of the two. Both can be thought provoking or mindless, depending on what we choose from their varied smorgasbord of options. So, why is it that if I told you I spent the entire day lounging and watching Netflix it would conjure completely different ideas than if I told you I spent an entire day reading? And if I told you that my daughter stayed up all night reading but my son stayed up all night watching videos online your judgements would probably be vastly different despite not knowing what she was reading or he was watching?
The truth is that in the last few weeks we’ve all spent more time reading. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and so have the kids. But we are more disconnected from each other as a result. We each have different interests but there are a few TV shows that we all like and usually watch together. We are actively engaged with each other while we watch- we talk about the characters and stories, we exchange knowing looks at plot twists and subtle jokes. We reference favorite quotes in daily conversation. It is anything but a passive, solitary activity for us and after a few weeks spent with each of us reading alone, in our own little worlds, I miss it.