Recognize that the Spirit does not remain in a bad atmosphere. Watch TV programs and listen to music that invites the Spirit.

- Incorporate advice and wisdom about music and TV from reputable people. Our teenagers remember hearing a man in our ward give a talk on music. They were impressed and applied his advice.- Agree as a family to watch only good shows and listen to only good music. Set a high standard in the home. In addition, set a good example as adults.

- Screen and monitor shows your children watch and watch good TV together as a family. Also listen to good music together. This way, you can discuss what you are hearing and seeing. Thus, you can help children understand what has good standards and what is realistic.

- Read the synopsis of TV shows before watching them. This way you can choose wisely the programs that have good morals and standards, and avoid those that are questionable.

- Lock out objectionable channels on cable. We didn't get cable for a long time. Then we decided to get cable so we could get general conference. We found it possible to lock out channels. To find out how to block out questionable channels, contact your cable company.

- Learn to appreciate good music. You can start when children are young playing positive music. In our home, because we started our children young with Church music, they like it and are used to it.

- Encourage fun and interesting educational TV. Discuss good shows during dinner and other family times. - Alan and Anna Louise Medaris family, Omaha, Neb.


Additional Information

How we did it:

No hypocrisy

- Teach children right from wrong because you can't watch them all the time. You can monitor the programs, but you can't monitor all they do. They need to be taught to turn off the TV.

- Be aware of what your children are viewing/listening to. Put on the stereo headphones and hear what your children are listening to. Sit down and watch prime time TV with them.

- Abide by the same standards you set for your children. It's not right to view R-rated and inappropriate PG videos and then tell your children they can't. No hypocrisy.

- Make available the feel-good, positive things in the media, such as good videos and good music. Help your children acquire a taste for good music. There is a huge variety of music to introduce your children to. - Brad and Elayne Risenmay, Othello, Wash.

Leisure time

Controlling music and TV involves preparing and implementing good principles. It is not enough to say, "Don't listen to this music or don't watch that TV show." As parents we must teach them how and why we make our choices.

We must work with our children so they have an array of good choices. Ask for their input; focus on music and TV shows that are acceptable. It may be desirable to record good TV shows for watching at a later time.

In addition, the amount of leisure time youth have should not be greater than they can handle. Teach them the value of work.

We've also had each of our children take music lessons so they can recognize wholesome, intelligent good works. - Hilton and Mary Ann Kennedy, Plano, Texas

By the Spirit

Music has been a very important thing to me throughout my life. My parents always had Primary tapes playing while I was growing up, and I loved the great feelings it brought to our home.

When I became a teenager, I started to rebel. In this rebellion, I began listening to hard rock and roll. Whenever anything went wrong, I would listen to a tape and avoid the problem. Music became my drug. When I finally realized that this music was bringing me down, instead of helping me, I was already addicted. It took me a long time to quit, but I'm glad I did.

The most important thing I learned from going through this was how to tell what music was bad and what music was good. The way to tell if it's good is by the Spirit. This is true with anything in life. If you can feel the Spirit while doing something, then it's a good thing. If not, then you should not do it. - Elder Doug Harris II, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah

Program guide

The TV program guide that appears in the newspaper gives thumbnail sketches of the programs. Questions you can ask are: "Is the content consistent with the principles of the gospel?" "Does it inspire or uplift?"

Most of all, many TV sets have a remote control. You don't even have to get up out of the chair to change the channel or shut the TV off. It doesn't get much simpler than that. - John L. Wandrei, Salt Lake City, Utah

Set criteria

Several years ago, I came across an old book of mine that has rules for choosing books. I altered these rules for choosing TV programs for families. They are:

- Find out what the TV programs are about.

- Does the program emphasize villainy, deception, treachery, sex or violence?

- Are the incidents depicted in the program wholesome, probable and true to life? Or does it emphasize only one small aspect of life?

- Does the program show young people being contemptuous toward their elders and successfully opposing them?

- Do the characters in the program show respect for society's authority figures, such as policemen, firemen, doctors, ministers, and family leaders?

- Are the characters depicted in the program the kind of people you wish your children to associate with?

- Does the program speak of and describe pranks, practical jokes and pieces of thoughtless and cruel mischief, as though they are funny and worthy of imitation?

- Is the program presented in good taste?

- Does the program reinforce or trivialize gospel principles? - Brigham Shuler, Bristol, Fla.

Safeguard ourselves

We need to safeguard ourselves, our children and visitors in our home from violence and other low standards on TV. I enjoy checking videos out from my ward library. Also, the Church has produced videos that have been offered on TV, such as "On the Way Home."

You can show videos in your home that deal with the family and don't contain that which is unhealthy to watch.

Staying away as much as possible from bad TV programs has helped my testimony of the gospel grow. - Michael W. Stevenson, Kellogg, Idaho


Write to us:

Jan. 7 "How to enhance your testimony of the Savior through studying the New Testament."

Jan. 14 "How to cope as a family with crisis."

Jan. 21 "How to cooperate as parents in the discipline of your children."

Jan. 28 "How to cope and be patient while waiting to adopt children."

Feb. 4 "How to enhance relationships between brothers and sisters."

Feb. 11 "How to overcome roadblocks to personal progress."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.


How to checklist:

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1 Have in home good music and appropriate videos

2 Use TV guides, other sources to monitor media in home

3 Choose TV programs and music that invite the Spirit

4 Help children discern good, bad; listen, watch with them.

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