Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Week Without Electronics

Alternate Blog Title: Our Return to Normal Human Interaction

After the "let loose" electronics mentality we had over Christmas Break, we needed to reboot.
We had let the boys watch lots of TV, play lots of Wii and Kindle, and be lazy bums.
I really started to check if their brains were oozing out of their ears.
The glazed look of TVoverconsumptionitits was running rampant.

So, we declared January 6th-January 12th, a week of... gasp...

This meant no TV, Wii, Kindle, iPhone games, blog reading, social media, etc.
Obviously, Micah has to use his computer for work, and I allowed myself to use mine to print photos and such for scrapbooking. I checked e-mail, but clicked no tempting links, and only responded when absolutely necessary.  We also allowed the watching of the football playoffs, because well, we are huge football fans, and good Americans.... and we of course, wanted to scream and cheer on our Broncos.

Do you know what happened?
Well, after about a day and half of the boys walking around like lost pups whose eyes hadn't adjusted to the new and bright world before them, they started to ya' know... interact.
They played games.
Read books.
Played with Legos and other long forgotten toys.

In short, they became little human beings again.

Micah and I, we enjoyed it too.
We read books.
Had long talks.
Lingered longer over the dinner table.
Crossed lots of things off the proverbial "to-do list".

In short, we became humans again too.

I finished up my Project Life for 2013.
I read TWO books.
My house was actually clean.
The laundry was done, folded, AND my personal nemesis, put away.

I suddenly had time for all those things "I never have time for..."
I realized we were wasting time on electronics, but wowee... I didn't realize how much. I also underestimated how much more we would interact with each other. (and that means how much LESS we interact when we are all staring at various screens.) The funny part is, we are pretty tight on how much we let the boys watch normally. Kindles have time limits, no TV goes on in the morning except for Saturdays, etc. Compared to some kids, they are practically Amish. But it's oh so easy to let it slip...

Sure, the boys had many more squabbles.
Well, when you are sitting on your buttocks watching TV there is nothing to argue about.
It was as if they had to re-learn how to settle disputes in games.
How to compromise when they wanted to do different things.
How to share when there were limited amounts of something.

I knew we'd accomplished our goal when, after school one day, one boy was painting, one boy was reading, and one boy was drawing. I felt like I'd walked into a picture of the way I want our house to be, and almost pinched myself. I joined the boys at the table and worked on my 2014 Project Life, turned on some music, and enjoyed being WITH my children. Not just near them, staring at a screen. 

We loved the week so much, it is going to become a monthly occurrence at our home.
We still love watching football, and having an occasional "family movie night". 
For me, I am keeping my online time cut waaaay back.
I no longer get up, check e-mails, and get hooked into reading fifty articles on feedly before realizing, "Oh, it's already been an hour I've been sitting here."
There is nothing wrong with reading these lovely blogs or websites about home decor, photography, and bad tattoos. (google the tattoo fail blog. you will thank me later, or hate me for the hours you are now wasting looking at the moron who tattooed "No regerts" on their arm.)
What the problem is, is what no one wants to admit... it's nothing that I need to live.

 Found this scene in the living room on day four. 
The wild boys looking through Project Life 2013.
Remembering. Laughing. Engaging.
TV can't buy that folks.

So, take a try at it.
Turn your electronics off.
I promise, after the initial shock and maybe the occasional finger twitch, you will find some lovely hobby, interest, or person to engage you.
Take a walk.
Read a book.
Write a letter.

Be a human again...


"To live is the rarest thing in the world. 
Most people just exist."
                                         ~ Oscar Wilde