Tonight we decided to watch a movie together, as a family. We had such a great time snuggled up under blankets with some popcorn, everyone glued to every moment on the screen. That wouldn’t be such a big deal but the fact that we haven’t had any electronic interaction all week (except to post on social media our updates)…No scrolling, no channel changing, no flicking, and I can count on one hand the calls and texts that we have responded to. This week has been void of nearly all electronic devices! Whew! It’s been a struggle, I won’t lie, but we’ve seen great changes take place over the last six days.
Every day since we got here at least one child has had an electronic breakdown of sorts. Nothing too alarming, mostly just complaining. The first three days were the worst, but as the week has progressed we’ve seen a notable difference in all of us!
Everyone has commented how well they are sleeping lately. Kris and I both have been able to fall asleep faster and at a decent time. Most of the aggression and arguments between the kids have stopped; it seems like they get along much better without the internet. (I’m sure they wouldn’t admit that though).
Monday we spent most of the day exploring the property, hanging up No Trespassing signs, and fishing, so we all were pretty busy and distracted from any tugging from the grid. Tuesday and Wednesday we went to town to get supplies and groceries. We got our official change of address completed and our new library cards (you nerds out there will totally understand how high up that ranks on the list of priorities) and we wanted to do a little sightseeing….
As long as we were busy everyone was content, but as soon as an empty moment happened we were reminded of the urge to be entertained.
The evenings were full of “we’re bored” and “there’s nothing to do”, but by Thursday we started a new trend; The kids went tromping through trails, they played board games and a really great round of “Go Fish”. Tonight (Friday) we had to interrupt a hot game of tag, as the kids chased each other through the fireflies, just to get them to clean up for dinner. And all of this on their own whim.
It’s weird to think that the kids these days have no idea how to have fun. They don’t know how to entertain themselves.
We didn’t do this overnight, of course. We have spent months preparing for this upheaval. Once we decided to make some drastic changes to our lives (more here about specifics) we knew that intentionally changing how our family consumes entertainment and technology was one of the biggest changes we wanted to make. For us personally, we wanted to stop spending so much time in the internet world and focus more on the here and now, more on what is truly important to us, each other.
We can easily recognize the yearning of others’ children for their parents attention. Have you ever seen that before? You’re sitting in a restaurant, the kid is being crazy wild, and the parent is zoned out on the phone. I know I’ve seen it.
It’s so easy to judge that parent harshly in the moment … but it’s an entire different thing when we start looking for it in ourselves.
Kris and I realized how far away we’ve gotten from how it used to be. When we lived in north Georgia we spent a lot of our time outside, with the kids, and having a great time together. I’m not sure when it all began, but around the time I started having symptoms in 2016 it was a slow fade. It became easier to give the kids technology or television than to deal with them when I already wasn’t feeling well.
Last fall we woke up from the trance that had dazed us all when we caught little Elijah “twerking” in the living room. It’s not everyday you see your six year dirty dancing, but I can say this; It’s not something I ever want to see again. That night we all sat down and discussed how to get this bus back on track.
Today I can finally taste the beginning fruits of all that labor!