I don’t watch TV very often but the last 2 days I haven’t been feeling 100% so I’ve been taking some breaks to rest.
Yesterday I watched Oprah and she was featuring a family who is feeling overwhelmed with life and disconnected from each other. Peter Walsh the author of It’s All Too Much was asked to step in and help this family. He did what he calls a “strip down” and took away the family’s electronics for a week. No cell phones, no email, no video games, no TV, no internet and even no microwave. The reason for no microwave was to get the family to cook healthy meals together. He also had them declutter their house and get rid of all the excess.
You can probably guess what happened. After one week of being unplugged and living in an organized home the family was happier and feeling more connected. The teenager even seemed to feel a bit of relief from taking a break from texting 24/7. He talked about how he wanted to spend more time with his 5 year old brother who previously he had basically ignored.
My daughter takes her cell to the bathroom with her! Are we ever really unplugged these days? We’ve had to make a rule in our house that cell phones and laptops are charged in our bedroom every night otherwise the teenagers will stay up all night texting. I’m a big advocate for getting the right amount of sleep; I believe it helps kids with their attitudes, grades, moods and life in general. I’m amazed how many parents let their children stay up all night. But I digress… back to the topic. Do kids even know how to unplug these days? Do we know how to unplug? Does the thought of living without your internet and cell phone for a week cause a minor panic attack?
Last week I attended an award ceremony recognizing local volunteers. One of the award categories was for teen volunteers. The speaker said the difference between these teens that are being recognized today and the other teens are the ones here today chose to look out in to the world instead of looking down at their cell phones. They looked out, saw the world, saw things that needed to be changed and decided to do something about it.
I think we could all benefit from taking some time to look out instead of always looking down at our screens.
Recently a teenage boy I know was looking forward to spending a special day with his dad. It was going to be just him and his dad. He was looking forward to this time since he didn’t usually get to spend much quality time with his dad who was always so busy with work. After the day passed I asked this boy how his special day was. He said it wasn’t very special because it felt more like he was just observing his dad having a special day with his Blackberry. He said his dad was so busy updating his Facebook status and texting with friends and colleagues he pretty much forgot to pay attention to him.
I’m seriously considering creating a new rule for my family. If you are in my car NO texting and No phone calls. Remember when driving time was quality time with your kids? It was maybe the one time they actually opened up and told you about their day. Now, I just feel like an ignored bus driver while my family texts/chats away with their friends.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this post. I’m just noticing all these technological tools and devices that are supposed to create connections may be creating disconnections with the ones we love the most.
Are you feeling connected or disconnected with the real live people in your world today?
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