A Thousand Nights of ‘TV-Less’ Suppers

The Pearson home doesn’t have a hard and fast rule that says “NO TV – EVER – DURING SUPPER.”

But around 95% of our suppertime meals at home are consumed with the television off.

I’ll be really honest here: Many nights, I just want to turn it on and let everyone’s mind drift away into oblivion while watching a game, or a guy with spiked dyed-blonde hair eat fattening foods at various diners, or see who is the worst performer for the week, or watch a Disney rerun for the 876th time. And sometimes, we do.

It’s just easier to turn it on, isn’t it? stock-illustration-15872813-retro-family-meal-time

No arguing at the table.

No having to think or deal with anything ‘significant’.

No having to hear anyone whine about not liking some vegetable or fruit.

No having to talk or listen or . . . care.


I have often wished we had turned on the brain zapping power of HD when it seems like NOTHING significant or helpful is happening around the table.

But Monday night it happened. I remembered why we leave it off.

The kids had attended Vacation Bible School. We were sitting outside on our back porch eating supper.

(Editors note: I had 4 tiki torches and 2 mosquito candles lit, a fogger fogging and box fan blowing and STILL got eaten alive by mosquitos! Dern you Noah! Leave the mosquitos OFF THE ARK!).

It was just the 5 of us eating (if you don’t count the mosquitos who were eating me) . . . Then it happened.

Usually dear ole mom or dad asks random questions ranging from “Seth, did you remember to put on underwear?” to “Birti, did you know your hair is dripping in your chicken?” to “What did you enjoy most about VBS?” to “What Bible Story did you talk about today?” to “You know there will be NO dessert unless you suck your plate dry, right?” to “Luke, you know if you get up before 6 am there will be no one to play with for a couple of hours?” (yes, he does. . . almost every morning . . . pray for us)

But Monday night – out of nowhere – it happened. Luke asked, “What’s hell like?” and “Are we going to know strangers in heaven?” and “How did Paul get around not being able to see on the Damascus Road?” and “Why is Birti’s hair dripping in her chicken?” and “Why do the deacons’ kids always act so bad?” (Okay, so he didn’t ask the last two. But – seriously – why do they act so bad?).

Thousands (so it seems) of nights without the TV on – nothing (so it seems). Then, out of nowhere, they (Seth also chimed in) started asking questions about God and the Bible and hell and Jesus and stuff. It was great. Simple. And great. And at THEIR initiative. All around W-I-N.

I don’t even have to type it do I? NONE of this would have happened with our flat screen lit up. We would have watched a teenage girl talk into a video camera giving advice to her baby sister – again. In other words, mealtime would have been wasted.

Please understand, I am not suggesting there are NEVER times to turn the TV on during a meal time and watch together. Those times come (especially during football season!). But I would suggest that at least 90% of the suppertime meals you eat together as a family be done with ZERO media interaction.

There will be a thousand nights where it seems like all you do is eat and discipline for not gobbling the squash.

But moments will come – I promise – where you remember it’s worth every push of the off button.

Dads, you take the lead here – what can you and your spouse agree to today to ensure meal time is reserved for ‘no media’ family time?

What other benefits of ‘no TV during mealtime’ can some of you share?



2 thoughts on “A Thousand Nights of ‘TV-Less’ Suppers

  1. Becky says:

    HOORAY FOR “Bible School”!!! Some of those dedicated helpers (many of whom are also getting their own children ready for the third day) are nearing the finish line of this week of sharing their hearts and help. May this story of questions from Bible School be an encouragement that your efforts are not in vain!

    As a family of six, plus friends sometimes, we always sat down together at suppertime. Most of the time, we did have some sharing of questions, answers and advice. “Matt, stop picking your teeth with you fingernails!”
    Bedtimes, where Dad tucked kids in were also good times for MANY questions! We were never ready for those questions that were asked in the car when all little ears were open!

    There was a hand-written framed sign hanging in our hallway which said, “The best thing you can spend on children is TIME!” I think, with some stumbles along our way, and lots of prayers, we did pretty good!

  2. Libby Kloap says:

    Great reminder of the importance of the dinner table! We too almost always sat down at the table with our kids for dinner, at least whoever was home for the meal. Being present in the moment is so important! It’s such a challenge in this electronic age that we live in these days!

    This is one habit that we all need to be back to!! Meals together at the table without television or cell phones!

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