This I Believe

Nicholas - Northampton, Massachusetts
Entered on December 31, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Belief has never been of huge importance in my life. I stopped going to Church around nine, and though I still maintain a Christian status, I feel I’m mainly in it for the presents. I never really felt a strong pull or calling towards one particular thing. When I would visit my friend’s house on Friday nights I would marvel at how his whole family would gather around the table together for Sabbath dinner. This was far in contrast of my own family who usually spent Friday dinners fighting over whose item was whose in the ever-complicated world of Chinese take-out. I felt that we lacked the sense of family togetherness that I had seen on T.V. We were more Sopranos than Cleavers.

I am seventeen years old and I believe in television. It’s that warm feeling we get from hours of inactivity that makes each one of us cherish our favorite programs. We become attached to the people on T.V. We’re enthralled with their day to day lives. We laugh with them and we cry with them. We watch their children grow up and we get angry with executives when they get cancelled.

In fact, the nine o’clock Sunday slot on HBO was the only time that my whole family would get together. We would all talk and remind each other about what happened last week and then slowly gather into a collective silence when James Gandolfini started driving down the Jersey Pike. It reminded me of those classic images of a 1960’s loving family all gathered around the television to watch the Dick Van Dyke show. This was the same thing except, instead of Dick Van Dyke, we had Tony Soprano.

Only a month after my parents said that they were splitting up I would see them together on the couch watching Home and Garden Television and House Hunters. T.V. is one of those astonishing inventions that lets us spend time with people without actually having to talk to them. Television not only inspires us but it brings us together to care about something. It is not a mindless waste of time, it is a wonderful waste of time that makes us enjoy the company of the people around us by enjoying something else together.