Laura Ingalls Wilder and Television

While visiting my grandparents a couple weeks back, I had the chance to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in Mansfield. My sister-in-law is a huge Little House fan and had never been, so we visited the home. While taking the tour of the home, the tour guide said something that stuck with me. She mentioned that Laura and Almanzo had never had a television, and that Laura once said that they didn’t have one because she didn’t think they’d have time to watch it.

Let me repeat that: she didn’t think they’d have time to watch television. This would have been in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Thinking about life today, how many people could say that? How many people instead don’t have time for other things because they’re watching television? Now granted, I don’t watch much TV myself, but I do spend a lot of time on the computer playing games or surfing the web.

It’s gotten me thinking about what Laura must have done instead of watching TV. They did have a radio. She probably read a lot and had chores and cooking to do. She may have knitted or sewed. She and Almanzo probably talked a lot. She wrote 9 books and countless letters. What could I do if I cut back on my computer use to the point where I was so busy with other, probably far more productive and useful things that I didn’t have time to play computer games or dink around Pinterest or whatever else for hours? The answer is quite a lot. I could practice the piano more and regain my proficiency. I could do as she did and write my novels. I could write friends and family. I could become the crafty person I’ve secretly always wished I could be. I could actually do the cleaning and organizing that I want to do. I could read more, study my scriptures more, go on walks and enjoy nature, exercise… the list goes on and on and on.

I think I want to work for this. Not that I want to cut out the games and internet completely, because I do enjoy them. But there is so much more I could be doing with my life. And starting now, I want to do it.


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