I have surprised myself after watching about 5 weeks of cable television (not constantly, of course). If I predicted what I would be watching, I would have guessed sports and Comedy Central. It's not even close. I watch Mariner games, but not all of them. The Mariners probably rank 3rd, behind shows on TLC and HGTV.
I've found that these networks carry shows that inspire household discussion. Daughter #1 takes interest in people that are hurt, have a disease or some other genetic challenge. I think it has something to do with her growing understanding of the self-other dynamic and differences in general. She's starting to make sense of difference, and we end up having discussions about social dynamics, recognizing the innocence of her curiosity, yet recognizing necessity of kindness, personal space, compassion and social graces.
For my dear wife and I, we watch "What Not To Wear." At first, I think it was amusing, but lately I've been reflecting upon the meaning of clothing and personal appearance. A deeper reflection began after watching The Devil Wears Prada. For a few years I've taken into consideration what clothing means in the realm of social justice, and surprisingly, implicit references have been made to the amount of money spent on clothing on this show and its meaning. What I did not expect as a reflection from this show was the frequency of the discussion about what is "age appropriate clothing." I'm not prepared to address the question, but as in other instances, turning 40 is on my mind. To what degree does image matter? How does clothing fit in? What of social justice? My dear wife and I have hit a surprising amount of discussions related to this show.
HGTV has also presented many different discussions. The focus on housing and design are a bit outside of common household discussion, especially since we recently spent a goodly sum on house updates, and we are not prolific "do-it-yourself" folks. These housing topics and sub-topics are important for our family because space and land affect relationships. I think public discourse is currently directed toward the purity and/or critique of the state of relationships. But as biblical scholar Eugene Peterson reminds me that relationships are important, we also occupy time and space, therefore we must give adequate reflection to what time and space mean in our lives. HGTV provides space for some practical discussion about the meaning of space and land in our lives in relationship to our family. It's also fun. Fun is good.