This past weekend S-Money$ and I decided to experiment with our family going somewhat unplugged from Friday at 5:30pm to Sunday at 5:30pm. The operative word of ‘somewhat’ meant that we had no access to a computer or Ipod (our main ‘techie’ gadgets du jour) and we utilized minimal TV time. Now we did watch a couple of family movies/short episodes of the kid’s fav. cartoon and we let the kids play some rounds of Mario Kart together. . . . didn’t want to miss out on any family battles!
When first hearing of the change, the older two kids – who tend to be more tied to their ‘gadgets’ – were a bit distraught and made sure to voice their discontent. We are all allowed an opinion, but us parent-folk stuck to our guns. Here’s a bit of what we learned going somewhat gadget free:
- First and foremost – we won’t DIE from lack of a computer/I-pod
- Creativity can flourish in the absence of needless distractions
- Siblings can form new bonds of playtime, hanging out, etc.
- New hobbies found or old ones rediscovered
- Meaningful conversations can take place in person or voice/voice. . . not text!
- The home can be a haven
- And most importantly è When we limit doing everything WE want, we can open ourselves up to better reflect on what God truly wants for us.
1 Corinthians 10:23 states, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.”
This little experiment, which will now become more of a norm in our house, was not to condemn technology or shun our family from that part of everyday life. The point was that I could sense something deemed ‘beneficial’ was becoming more of an idol in all of our lives. Time together and time in the Word was being overlooked/ignored over the desire for internet surfing, internet games, texting friends, updating Facebook, pinning on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure), etc. Anything can be beneficial until it begins to consume our hearts, thoughts and time. As Mark Driscoll has noted regarding worldly things – we can either Receive it, Reject it or Redeem it. As I mentioned previously, receiving our gadgets ‘as-is’ was idolatry for us – pure and simple. Rejecting it would probably do more harm. We chose instead to redeem our technology by minimizing its use and centering what use we had around family oriented activities where relationship was preserved/highlighted.