Pope says, Turn off TV, put down smart phones, turn off computers and eat meals intimately together.

by Steve Ray on November 15, 2015

I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t have these gadgets when we raised our kids. We got rid of television and opted to read books. My father was a radical when he raised me – he refused to get us kids a TV but read stories and books to us every night after we all ate dinner together at 5 PM sharp.

Watching my own kids raise my grandkids is a beautiful thing. My grandkids have no TVs in their homes. They have no iPhones, iPods or other gadgets attached to their heads. They carry books around and love to have conversations with people of all ages.

Actual pictures of the family at dinner "together" in Lourdes

A while ago I sat in a restaurant (at Lourdes France, no less) and watched a family with three young children walk in and sit across from my wife and I. Except for the father, each one had a iPhone, iPad or some other gadget.

They all had earbuds in their ears and were each in a world of their own – the mother included. The family did not talk to each other AT ALL during the meal and much of the food was left uneaten because the kids were so engrossed in their games, videos and music.

The poor father sat there looking bewildered and sad. He was not man enough to take charge of his family. Had it been me, I would have immediately confiscated the gadgets, taken the family home for a meeting. At the meeting I would have laid out some new rules for the family – and gadgets, TV, computers would be controlled if not eliminated, especially during family meals.

Fathers — man up! Get the family under control. Reclaim sanity in the home. Spend time with the wife and kids. Control the gadgets. Start reading books together. Take walks in the woods. Turn off the TV (or better yet, get rid of it). Restrict or eliminate the iPhones, iPads and other gadgets from young kids. Pray together. 

The Pope is right! Here is a bit about his talk as reported by Zenit.org.

Spending time interacting within the family is important, and therefore, togetherness shouldn’t be replaced by having phones out and televisions blasting.

Pope Francis stressed this during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square today, as he continued his catechesis on the family. Last week, he looked at the importance of the family as the place where we learn the value of forgiveness, and this week, he considered the importance of togetherness. 

Togetherness, he pointed out, involves sharing together the good things of life with your loved ones and being happy to do so, and also sharing the difficult times, such as loss of a loved one.

The Holy Father began his catechesis pointing out that sitting at the table for the family dinner, and sharing our meal and the experiences of our day, is a fundamental image of togetherness and solidarity.  He also said togetherness is a reliable “thermometer” to measure the “health” of the relationship.

He noted how if a relative has a struggle, speaking about it together at the table helps to find a solution.

“A family that almost never eats together, or is not at the table, but watching the TV or on their smartphones, is hardly a family,” he said, lamenting when “the children at the table are attached to the computer, to the phone and do not listen to each other.”

For a great movie to show the devastation of TV on the family, I highly recommend this masterpiece movie Avalon.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kathy November 15, 2015 at 9:34 AM

While I agree with you on the overuse of the media, I think outing this family wasn’t very nice. Think about it, they were in LOURDES. Could it be that they went there looking for a miracle for a dying family member? Maybe they have a lot more on their minds than talking or eating? When my mom was dying, I’m sure I looked a lot like the man in the picture.

STEVE RAY HERE: There is no “outing” here. It was an anonymous family, no names are used and it just represents “every family” that we see in the modern world. I think you missed the whole point unfortunately.

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