Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wholesome family = no TV?

I've watched a lot of programs about "wholesome" christian families and doing that has prompted me to really think about what a wholesome family really is.  The definition of wholesome is:

adj. whole·som·erwhole·som·est
1. Conducive to sound health or well-being; salutary: simple, wholesome food; a wholesome climate.
2. Promoting mental, moral, or social health: wholesome entertainment.
3. Sound; healthy. See Synonyms at healthy.

Since my husband and I believe that morals are dictated by religion and the values of others, while ethics are deep personal convictions about what is right, I'll just substitute the word ethical for moral.  With that substitution, I can agree that this is the way I want my family to be.  I also don't think that one has to be christian to raise one's children in a wholesome manner.  I think that a lot of the things christian parents make their children give up for the sake of "wholesomeness" is unnecessary.  Why is it more wholesome to not celebrate Halloween, or give up scary movies, to wear clothing that covers all of your body from neck to ankles, or to avoid drinking alcohol even in moderation?  I think Halloween promotes happiness and creativity, which is healthy.  Scary movies can cause short bursts of adrenaline and stimulate the imagination.  Wearing revealing clothing (at least for me) can be a boost to the ego when every eye in the room is gazing toward you appreciatively.  And multiple studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption is healthy for the entire circulatory system.  Why are the things I listed generally stricken from the wholesome list while attending church, roasting marshmallows and making smores, and taking a family road trip in an SUV are at the top of the list.  So, closing your children's minds in church, feeding them lots of high fructose corn syrup and carcinogens, and polluting the atmosphere in a gas guzzler are healthful, moral and sound?

I think the rest of us should take back the word wholesome.  As a non-christian parent, I'm offended that the life I am trying to give my child is not considered wholesome because I've chosen to let my child experience more of life.  Fu@k and $hit are the only words I really don't want him to know or say until he's much older.  My son sometimes drops something and says, "Sucks.  Damnit."  I laugh, while others hear it and are horrified.  I am planning to tell him the basic mechanics of human reproduction in the next couple of years, while adding to his knowledge and continuing the dialogue throughout his preteen and teen years.  Well, maybe my husband will have to take over when it becomes uncomfortable for my little man.  I won't let him go to McDonald's or any fast food restaurants, other than the very occasional trip to In-N-Out or Chipotle.  But I am pagan, and therefore my son's childhood is tainted.

I am going to try an experiment.  I never make new year's resolutions, but this year I'm going to try one.  I want to attempt to give up TV for a month.  I think this could give me some real insight, since a lot of "wholesome" families claim that this is one of things they've chosen to do that makes their families closer.  I know that they give it up to push away non-christian influences.  I want to do it to give up commercial influences and to force me to make more time for my child and my own pursuits.  I think at the end of the experiment, I'll watch significantly less TV in general, but that I'll still go back to it.  I think I'll really get back into my writing, spend more time at the park with my son, exercise more, and prepare more elaborate meals.  We'll see.  Wish me luck!

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