Do you remember the days of the past when we didn’t rely on cell phones to get us places or remind us to do things or to answer every little question that arises in our day? You may be too young to know such a time existed. But we used to rely on pay phones and paper maps and asking people for directions. I remember hearing a new word and pulling the dictionary off the shelf to find the meaning. When I traveled with my family or friends we would carry on a conversation most of the time and share memories and stories or play road games. When I had dinner with a friend we would talk about our lives and discuss real world events. These days I don’t see that very often. I can walk into a restaurant and see faces buried into cell phones with very little talking going on. I see people walking down the street or riding in cars with their heads down and fingers touching the screen of a device in their hands. I know parents who give their children devices to keep them quiet on road trips. I get it. I used to be one of those. But let me tell you what I’ve learned. After removing the devices from the hands of my children, life has color and clarity and new purpose. My children’s attitude changed and they seem happier and more focused. I read a study about a high school basketball team whose coach requires they have device-free time an hour or more before and after game time. The results are amazing! They not only stay more focused on the game but they play better and interact more as a team on the court.
We returned last night from a 4 day road trip where my kids were device free and I only checked my phone once a day for work related emails. It was revolutionary!!! It was beautiful! Instead of hiding behind their phones riding down the road, all three of my kids created games to play – on their own!!! They started with card games and then went to a game where they created a story by taking turns saying a word to make sentences. They performed a pretend operation on a teddy bear and gave it CPR. They looked out the window and saw the landscape and fields of wild flowers and rivers we crossed. They told me about their dreams and their crushes at school. We shared and talked and then had moments of quiet where they just soaked in the scenery. They even read their books to each other for a portion of the trip. I was so happy to witness this that I wanted to share this experience with you and ask you to give it a try. Not just once, but forever.
Technology is such a distraction in our lives. It prevents us and our children from having real relationships! It prevents us from talking and getting to know each other. I had the best weekend with my kids because we engaged and loved each other and spoke words. Life is too short to hide behind a screen and not share it with those we love.