Our family has been experimenting. This lent, we decided to give up all screens. I still have to use the computer to work sometimes, but we don't watch TV or use iPads or have our phones for backup when our kids get bored. We read a LOT, play board games, do projects or make things and work together as a family. The kids will tell you I decided we were giving up screens for Lent, but TRUST ME, this was not my idea! They suggested it and I almost fell over. And then decided, "Okay. Let's do this."
There have been so many interesting things that have sprung from this experiment. The first was how much I rely on screens when I don't want to deal. Either tuning out in the evenings (for me) or knowing that the kids will be entertained by something other than me or each other or by some other self-imposed creative outlet. They've cut up boxes and designed robots for each other, laid in their beds and looked at books, listened to a lot of music. And, of course, fought. But they would have fought anyway. I just can't use the iPads as distraction to break up their disagreements. Which also sucks.
The first weekend, I thought I was going to cave. It was SO HARD. They seemed restless and bored and I wanted to do things and it was just hard. It's not like the weather is awesome out here right now either, (its so damn windy!!!) so having cabin fever is a real thing.
Most of you know that my word for this year is "clear." Politically, I want to get clear about what I can do. Vocationally, I want to get clear about my life's work. Personally and for my family, I want to clear the way for building an intentional and uncomplicated life.
We are also reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" together as family and clearing our spaces completely and forever of things that don't spark us joy. We are about 3/4 way through at this point. It's hard and wonderful and energizing and draining work. And the kids have taught me so much about what sparks joy for them! they have kept about 95% of their stuffed animals and shedded about 75% of their toys. With joy. How incredible is that?
To celebrate, last night we watched movie together as a family. We talked about that decision a lot, but we decided that if the goal of Lent is to simplify and be more intentional with our time together, the movie was an excellent way to highlight that. It's not all or nothing. It's both.
AJ said that he has noticed that "technology is taking over our lives." He recently had a sleepover as his cousin's house and he said that all his cousin did was "skateboard and spend time on his phone." Had AJ had an iPad in his hand and his eyes glued to the screen, he wouldn't have noticed that.
I'm ready to finish painting and make our space beautiful. I'm ready to plant new things and get ready for spring. But first, we have to finish purging and shedding and clearing the way for what we want. And all of that sounds completely liberating.