Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Stranger In Town

This is an email someone sent me. I know that my dad also met this same stranger, invited him in, and he never left to this day, to my own dismay.

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our
small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this
enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The
stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young
mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary
instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound
for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he
always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even
seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major
league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger
never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing
each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the
kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the
stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger
never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not
allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our
longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my
ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit
the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on
a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes
distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His
comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced
strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my
parents, yet he was seldom rebuked.. And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our
family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he
was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you
would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to
listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?.... .. .

We just call him 'TV.'

(Note: This should be required reading for every household in America!)



sherri said...

Good one!

Caroline said...

This is so good. Thank you for posting this. I read it out during my home group this week and people have requested copies. I felt so convicted afterwards and have really been monitoring what my children watch on TV, particularly my 15 year old.

Gabrielle Eden said...

It is a pretty thought provoking email that someone sent me. And it breaks my heart how TV has taken such a prominent place in our home.