I’ve been thinking about instigating No Technology Tuesdays in the Voth house.
Roger and I like to believe that we’re raising our children in a home environment that is simple, wholesome, maybe even a little old-fashioned. And to some extent, we are.
We eat our meals together around the dining room table. We don’t have cable or satellite (and our TV doesn’t pick up any local channels.) Our kids will happily spend hours playing with Legos while listening to Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. All of our children own at least one sheep and have to help take care of the crazy things. They carry firewood for our wood stove. They have regular dish chores. They go to bed at 8:30 on school nights. Pretty wholesome little snapshot, right?
But on the flip side….
Our family owns a laptop, a netbook, a smartphone, 2 samsung media players (basically smartphones without phone capabilities), a nook, a wii, a DS, a couple of gameboys, several shelves of DVDs and enough electronic games and apps to keep all of us entertained for two lifetimes. These are the things we love. We carry them with us everywhere we go; we charge them religiously each night.
I admit; I’ve encouraged them in all this. I really do believe that technology is a good thing. It’s an important part of our world and I want my children to understand it and be able to use it to make their lives more efficient.
But I’d be embarrassed to admit to you how much of their lives are spent focused on screens. Sometimes multiple screens. While one of them is playing Lego Star Wars on the wii, 2 of the others may be watching and giving advice while playing their own little game of Minecraft. When we all sit down to watch a family movie, one of them is probably playing a handheld game. If there are a few extra minutes in the morning before we go to the bus… pull out the Samsung. Most nights when they’re settled in bed and I come in to pray with them, I have to wait for them to finish a game and turn it off.
They’re afraid of being bored.
Which strikes me as funny because there is so much to do in this house. For starters, they each have 3 siblings fairly close to their age, which is more than a lot of kids have. We have a closet full of games that no one plays. We have more Legos than some toy stores. They’ve got a creek below the house for warm days, and a fantastic ditch behind the house – perfect for frog-catching, dam-building, water work creations and general muddiness. They have an awesome attic play space that their daddy and uncle built. They’ve got shelves full of books that they’ve never read.
I wonder what would happen if we would all agree to keeping all our electronic devices turned off for one day a week. I wonder if I could even handle it. Keep my computer shut, leave my phone turned off, no facebook or pinterest. Like I said, I believe in technology. I don’t want to go crazy and ban it completely, or make them do a month-long fast.
But I also love the laughter and interaction that happens when our family is spending time together with no screens involved.
Has your family ever done something like this? Did it work? Did your kids (or you) rebel? Was it easier than you expected? Harder? I’d love to know.