The Ultimate Narcotic: TV

The Ultimate Narcotic: TV

Are you looking to get high?

Do you need an escape from the pressures of life or a quick fix? Would you like to experience a prolonged pleasurable passive state of being? How would you like the perfect combination of stimulation and sedation?

There is no need to put a needle in your arm or smoke, snort or drink. There is no need to break the law either. I’ve found the ultimate narcotic! It is cheap, effective and the supply is only limited by the amount of time you have to enjoy it.

Pleasurable effects of this drug:
1. Stimulating and sedative (simultaneously)
2. Reduces pain and tension
3. Provides a sense of control
4. Enhances a sense of relaxation and euphoria
5. Long lasting (the drug after-effects last for several hours)
6. Stress-free, quiet absorption

That sounds pretty good, right? However, I need to make you aware of the negative side-effects of this drug.

Negative side-effects of this drug:
1. Lower cognitive skills & IQ
2. Decreased attention span (possible ADD/ADHD connection)
3. Lower academic scores & lagging reading ability
4. Depression and Anxiety
5. Impeded imagination
6. Retardation social skills
7. Increased aggression & violent behavior (double of non-users).
8. Obesity & Sleep disturbances

Narcotic Effect:

I recently watched an interview with a Hollywood screenwriter who described the main objective of video media is to provide a ‘narcotic effect’ for the viewer. The point of which is to lull the viewer into a state of sedation and stimulation.

“(In 1993) Psychologists and epidemiologists at the University of Tennessee and Memphis State University monitored metabolic rates in eight- to twelve-year-old children under two conditions: lying down in a dark room, and sitting up watching television. In every case, the child’s metabolic rate while sitting and watching television was far lower than his metabolic rate while lying down in the dark. Watching television is worse than doing nothing.”(1).

There are literally thousands of studies conducted over the last 60 years that prove without a doubt that both television (video) content and the medium itself are extremely damaging and addictive. Most positive benefits of content are cancelled out by the medium of TV (video) itself. It is an addictive drug and has the same effects as chemical drugs.

“Television, while chemically non-invasive, nevertheless is every bit as addicting and physiologically damaging as any other drug.” (Rivers)

Maybe its time to have a real discussion around the dinner table in America about this problem. If the average American watches 5-6 hours of TV per day, what life experience he or she trading for that 5-6 hours? This is a cultural and relational issue we must tackle.

“In 1993, the most violent prime-time shows exhibited as many as 60 acts of violence per hour.(23) That year the average child living in the United States watched 10,000 murders, assaults, and other violent acts on television,(24) and by 1997 that number had climbed to 12,000(25) and was still rising.”(2)

Based on mountains of research, there is no question that watching TV (video) is an addictive and dangerous drug. The question is, what are WE going to do about it?

See footnotes and resources here… Do your own homework on this.  You will be shocked and convicted.  To be continued….

11th Commandment: Thou shalt Trust but Verify

11th Commandment: Thou shalt Trust but Verify

My wife Kat is my most trusted advisor. She is truly a Proverbs 31:10 wife. I admit that I don’t always listen to her advice, in many cases to my own detriment. However, years before we were married, she gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received from anyone. ‘Trust but verify’. Kathryn picked it up from someone she worked with in Austin. I pass it on regularly.

Kat is very pretty and pretty practical when it comes to working with other people. I have a tendency to over-trust or completely under-trust folks. This is to my detriment as well. Kat on the other hand has a balanced approach to working with people. This approach extends to me, our children and others.

“Trust but verify”
I don’t remember the first time I heard the phrase “trust but verify” emerge from her lips but, it stuck with me ever since. I apply it daily. I found it contains both grace and accountability. It has nothing to do with distrust but affirms a growing trust in a relationship.

If I ask my 4yr old son if he cleaned up his room and he says he did, I trust him that he actually cleaned his room and walk with him down to his room and verify. When we arrive, I see that his room is clean and affirm him with praise. “Well done son…. well done.”

Old Relationships:
When I’m advising or mentoring a friend or client, I’m constantly employing ‘trust but verify’, particularly if I’ve discovered that my friend has acted on bad advice in the past. Acting on bad advice is dangerous. Therefore, I take it seriously when someone presents something that just doesn’t pass the ‘smell test’.

New Relationships:
In a new relationship, I have no idea if someone is making choices on bad advice or false assumptions. Therefore, I have to trust them but verify the validity of the underlying advice or assumption. Once I validate the information, I can affirm the choice or help correct it. Both contain grace and accountability.

Applied to me:
Personally, I appreciated when others apply ‘trust but verify’ to me because I value accountability. Many times my wife and others close to me have helped me see that my thinking was wrong or I simply forgot to do something I said I would.

11th Commandment (If there actually was one):
Thou shalt ‘Trust but Verify’!

Saying ‘no’ in a ‘yes’ culture

Saying ‘no’ in a ‘yes’ culture

Our small group met last night and one struggle that we all seem to share is saying ‘no’. We live in a culture that loves to say ‘yes’ to pretty much everything. So, saying ‘no’ in a ‘yes’ culture is tough.  In fact, there is a guilt attached to saying ‘no’.

Truth be told, I’ve had to work to change my default response to a request from ‘yes’ to ‘no’. My default has always been ‘yes’. I’ve learned that ‘yes’ can get me into trouble. I continue to struggle with it.  I want to please others.  To much ‘yes’ ends up disappointing everyone.

When I say ‘yes’ to one thing, I’m saying ‘no’ to another.

“You can say no with respect, you can say no promptly and you can say no with a lead to someone who might say yes. But just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.  Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.”Seth Godin

Let me give you a quick example. If someone asks me to help or volunteer for a cause and I say ‘yes’, I have now moved a portion of my time and energy away from one area of my life and committed it to another.

Understanding the limitations that time places on our lives is important in understanding why we need to say ‘no’.

‘No’ protects the most important relationships and priorities in your life. ‘No’ allows you to do what is important. Say ‘no’ and reaffirm the relationship. Move on.

Below are some links that may help you say ‘no’. Remember, this will take practice.




“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37)

Do you have trouble saying ‘no’?

The Great Distraction: Smarter phone, Dumber people

The Great Distraction: Smarter phone, Dumber people

What the heck are we doing to ourselves? We’ve got some major freakin’ issues, people! If we don’t start tackling the cultural problems headed our way, our problems will tackle us. We’re glued to our handheld super-computer-smartphone-appendages to notice or care that our real lives are coming unglued.  We’ve allowed ourselves to become distracted and dare I say indifferent?

I’m guilty guilty guilty! I spend too much time Facebooking, texting and checking email on my iPhone. I’m not suggesting ditch the smartphones all together. I’m just suggesting that we set some boundaries and find balance. Life can’t be lived on a four inch screen.

We’ve allowed all this ‘cool’ new technology to trespass all over our lives and relationships. Our children will be the ones to suffer. This addiction must be tamed.

50 years from now, folks might refer to this era as ‘The Great Distraction’ if we don’t stop going down this road.  I’m going to experiment with setting some boundaries.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Photoshop Culture: Can you really believe what you see?

Photoshop Culture: Can you really believe what you see?

(Note: I do not endorse globaldemoracy(dot)com… But, applaud their posting of this video)

I enjoy going to the grocery store with my wife and young children. I appreciate the opportunity of teaching them the value of a dollar.

I hate waiting in the check-out line. Not because I hate waiting. I hate the images on the magazines surrounding my family in the checkout isle. We live in what I call a ‘Photoshop Culture‘ where almost every image we see is airbrushed, manipulated and/or enhanced. When we’re waiting in the checkout line, my little daughter does not realize she is looking at a complete LIE.  Neither does my young son.

It begs the question; What kind of impact do these images have on the minds of our children?


When is the last time you laughed so hard that you cried?

Due to the arctic freeze here in Fort Worth, my family has been forced to stay in doors. It has been awesome. We’ve had some real intense moments of laughter. My wife’s eyes have trouble producing tears. However, the other night we laughed so hard that tears were rolling down her cheeks. I stumbled upon this interview with Dorothy Custer (link above). She is a funny lady and knows how to laugh, particularly at herself. There is a lesson on laughter. (more…)