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Did anyone join in TV Land’s third annual dinner-hour blackout last night? I did …sort of.
The TV Land cable network sponsored its third annual “Family Day–A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children” last night. During the dinner hour from 6 to 7 p.m., their goal was to encourage families to dine together, or at least that’s what they said. Larry W. Jones, TV Land’s president, promoted the evening as a contribution to family life. He pointed to studies showing that “the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.”


So instead of seeing “Cheers,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “I Love Lucy,” or whatever would have been showing at that time, viewers during that hour saw photos of families eating dinner and spending time together. I think it was a novel idea—I just wish that by now, in year three, they could have gotten more TV stations to buy in. Our family doesn’t usually watch TV Land and I don’t know many people who do.
In our home, we took an hour off from TV and instead played cards and ate snacks. We didn’t watch photos of other families on TV Land, though, and we didn’t do it at 6 because our active kids aren’t home by then. But the idea itself had merit–any person of faith must acknowledge the importance of family relationships upon our faith and society. I’m not one of those guys who thinks TV is bad, but I do believe we all watch too much of it.
If TV Land is serious about helping families spend more time together, they should get a majority—if not all cable stations—to join in for an hour. That would be a cultural phenomenon and a loud statement. With only one channel doing it, I believe most families just chose to watch other channels during that time last night, making note of TV Land’s efforts. The publicity certainly helped TV Land, which I’m sure was the real point.
I suspect that more families made note—as we did—of the new commercial for a mini-van that’s designed for kids to eat, watch DVD movies, and even sit at a table together in the car! I can’t tell if we’ve come a long way or if we’ve got a long way to go, at least when it comes to the family spending time around the table together.

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