“Family is the most important thing in the world.” ~ Princess Diana
I guess I should be more specific. My husband and I decided to have a 24 hour period without electronics (which actually turned into 36 hours) and the kids to agree. I love the idea and we’ve gone electronic free at different times in the past. After hearing a message at church last Sunday about a Life Application…REST… (watch it here: http://www.connexuscommunity.com/watch-online/life-apps/) we thought it was important to spend a day as a family without electronic distractions.
My husband works for a resort, and since he was needed to help set up and take down some of the electrical thingys (that’s the techy term, of course.:) ) on Canada Day, we decided to go spend the day enjoying the adventure park (zip lining, euro bundgying, mountain biking, segwaying, dirt biking, swimming, etc.) and partake in the resorts Canada Day celebrations. We thought this would be a perfect day to be together as a family, without the pull of the outside world. Check out all the activities we did:
There were a few stipulations:
– No social media
– No gaming
– No texting (With the exception of Kevin for work)
– No wifi
– No listening to music with ear phones
We were allowed to:
– Take photographs with my iPhone
– I was allowed to write on the lap top (my family did a lot of adventuring, and as I’m still recovering, I needed to relax. I relax by reading and writing)
– Use the phone in case of emergency (which didn’t happen, thankfully)
– Use an iPod to listen to music, as a family…no head phones.
I must admit, the reaction of my 13 year old daughter surprised me. She has never been much for electronics or gaming growing up. But the past 6 months she has starting texting and using Instagram. I don’t think I realized how ingrained into her life it had become. She felt as though we were punishing her by taking her iPod and phone away. And that was not the case at all! After we talked about it more, and explained that it was just as much for her dad and me, I think she understood, even if she didn’t like it much. It definitely confirmed the need to take a break from our devises. I also told her about when I was young, I would spend hours and hours (literally) on the phone talking with my friends, since we didn’t have texting back then. So I completely understand her need to be connected with her friends.
Truthfully, I knew I would have a hard time. I’m generally a social person. I love using social media, checking out what people are up to, connecting with people, reading blogs, encouraging others, sharing my family’s life. My mum even jokes that she checks Facebook, just to see my status update so she knows what we’re up to. 🙂 But I also knew that I needed a break.
Our day started with Kevin and our 11 year old son doing a crossword together. Normally, my son would have been playing a game on his iPod or watching TV, and my husband would have been playing a game on his phone. It was such great interaction! And then throughout the day, we made decisions (as a family) what activities we would do. It was wonderful.
Things we learned:
– Emails and texts will still be there after 24 hours. Nothing was a life crisis.
– We really didn’t miss much on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).
– We were able to focus on each other, having great conversations.
– It’s good to be connected to the people immediately in front of you, instead of people on the other end of a devise.
– There is nothing more important than spending time together as a family…uninterrupted
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all pleasant or picture perfect. The kids bickered (a lot!), got bored occasionally and we were all excited to be back online. Yet, it was really great for all of us to disengage for a short time and I highly recommend it for every family. What I also discovered for myself was that I found the pull of social media wasn’t so strong after 2 days. Huh, interesting.
Have you tried going electronic free with your family? What were your experiences?
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.