TV has power to destroy civility, society

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dear Dr. Dobson: Whether it be on dramatic shows or the evening news, the TV seems to showcase death more than ever before. What do you think it will do to us to continue watching extreme violence night after night?

Dear Reader: Walter Lippmann once wrote that a saturation of this kind of sensationalism can actually destroy a people and a culture. I agree with him completely. We've already come to the point when decent people are afraid to go outdoors at night. We live in terror. No one is safe, not even old people who have so little that criminals really want. Television does have the power to destroy us as a nation. I fear it may already have damaged us beyond repair.

Dear Dr. Dobson: I'm a full-time mother with three children in the preschool years. I love them like crazy, but I am exhausted from just trying to keep up with them. I also feel emotionally isolated by being here in the house every day of the week. What do you suggest for mothers like me?

Dear Reader: I talk to many women like you who feel that they're on the edge of burnout. If they have to do one more load of laundry or tie one more shoe, they feel like they will explode. In today's mobile, highly energized society, young mothers are much more isolated than in years past. Many of them hardly know the women next door, and their sisters and mothers may live a thousand miles away. That's why it is so important for those with small children to stay in touch with the outside world. Though it may seem safer and less taxing to remain cloistered within the walls of a home, it is a mistake to do so. Loneliness does bad things to the mind. Furthermore, there are many ways to network with other women today, including church activities, Bible study groups, and supportive programs such as "Moms In Touch" and "Mothers of Preschoolers."

Husbands of stay-at-home mothers need to recognize the importance of their support, too. It is a wise man who plans a romantic date at least once a week and offers to take care of the children so Mom can get a much-needed break.

Burnout isn't inevitable in a busy household. It can be avoided in families that recognize its symptoms and take steps to head it off.

Dear Dr. Dobson: In recent months, there have been two occasions when a woman at work has made a "pass" at me. I love my wife deeply, have no interest in this lady and have communicated this to her in no uncertain terms. Do you think I should share these incidents with my wife?

Dear Reader: Yes, I do. First, because I believe the healthiest marriages are those that are open and honest on such matters. Second, because sharing important information is a step toward accountability in a situation that could prove dangerous. And third, because your wife should be your best friend with whom you discuss troubling circumstances and how they will be handled.

My only caution is that you be careful not to reveal this disclosure in order to make your wife jealous or to "use" the incident to manipulate her. Some spouses seize an opportunity like this to play power games with a mate. Check out your motives carefully before you talk to your wife and share the experience as objectively as possible.

Finally, I urge you to continue to reject the advances of the lady in your office, regardless of how attractive she is or how flattering her interest in you may be. To pursue her may give your ego a ride now, but only pain and sorrow lie down that road -- for her and for you.

Send your questions to Dr. James Dobson, c/o Focus on the Family, P.O. Box 444, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903. Dobson is the chairman of the board for Focus on the Family.

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