Re: TV in the Common House ...Horrors! or Blessing?
From: LOliveau (
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 10:50:02 -0700 (MST)
We have not moved into our community yet, but do have a common house with a 
TV in it. Sometimes the kids watch a video while we meet but mostly they jump 
on the trampoline or swing or, if there's a sitter, swim or canoe.

My personal feeling is that if we fear TV -- and especially try to 
over-control kids' viewing, we are giving it power. Similar to food. You know 
all the parenting advice that says don't create control issues with food? I 
think this is similar. And I have a personal story to back this up. 

I am not a TV person, never owned one myself, etc. (score one - smirk). But 
my husband is something of an addict, which really upset me early in our 
relationship. When we had kids, I decided *not* to be the TV police and not 
to make an issue of it with the kids. When I was home with them, it was 
seldom on -- I did do some of those TV workouts and watched some parenting 
shows while nursing... We've never used TV as a reward or punishment. 

Nowadays, I am really grateful to my husband for the way he makes TV work for 
our family. For one thing, he bought this new toy called TIVO. It allows us 
to record (and watch) only what we want, *and* has parental controls so I'm 
never afraid the kids will turn on the TV and see or hear something 
inappropriate. Yipee for technology! I'm also grateful for all the incredible 
shows my husbands finds for the kids. He's got them watching Gilbert and 
Sullivan operas and they must have seen "Singing in the Rain" a hundred 
times. But they never beg to watch TV. What they want is constant crafts and 
sewing help and an audience for their latest live song and dance production. 
It's really worked out as I had hoped. A non-issue. Like me, the kids can 
take it or leave it.

I see this as a values issue. Kids are magnetically drawn to our values - 
both pro and con. If we make a big deal about something, they will too.

That said, 9-11 is a special case. After the first glimpse of the twin towers 
crash on TV, we did not watch any of the horror. We read the papers. We 
didn't need to see it, nor did our kids. If we had already been living in the 
Proximity cohousing community and a group had decided to watch the crashing 
over and over on TV, or the commentary, we would not have been seen at the 
common house. 

So my recommendation is have a TV, have a satellite dish for maximum options, 
and have TIVO for many reasons but A#1 = the parental controls. 

One more point. As someone who is still navigating her way into cohousing and 
questioning all the associated values and visions, I am a bit turned off by 
the whiff of superiority I get from the movement. This TV thing highlights 
that it is sooo easy to condemn, which is way out of line with the consensus 
root value of acceptance and inclusion. 

I was musing about this superiority tendency during the morning drive, 
because, guess what? I do think cohousing is superior and so am I for doing 
it!!! I  remembered something I learned in an Adlerian psychology course 
once. It had to do with identifying our value/priorities and it's 
confronting. Goes something like this: 

What do you most want to avoid? A) Being unproductive B) Being rejected C) 
Being embarassed D) Stress or conflict

If A, your highest priority is superiority, if B - pleasing, if C - control, 
if D - comfort.
Not too pretty, eh? But the good news is that each priority produces a 
corresponding ability: contribution, negotiation, organization, nurturing.

I think many people attracted to cohousing are contributors. Productive, 
excellence seekers. We just have to recognize when we're doing our 
superiority dance! 

Lauranne Oliveau
Proximity Cohousing

"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field.
I'll meet you there." - Rami
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