The Weekend technology forgot   32 comments

Sometimes I think to myself, ‘now that’s a great idea. I should totally do that. In fact I can’t wait to do that because it is going to be the start of something amazing.’ These ideas usually come to me around 3 am, which is slightly inconvenient because I do tend to be asleep at that time. However, given the sheer genius of these epiphanies I am not prepared to tell them to make an appointment.
That is, until last week. When I forgot to not remember an idea that came to me mid slumber.
I further exasperated the fact by mentioning it to my husband, who thought that it may be the greatest idea since sliced bread. So we decided to share it with the kids over breakfast.
The meal started light and fun; my youngest showing his siblings YouTube videos and my eldest taking selfies and posting them to snap chat. It was just your average breakfast with the family since technology put down roots in our home.
My husband and I looked at each other and knew that this was as good a time as any to share the good news. No, we weren’t becoming Jehovah’s witnesses; it was something with way more shock value than that.
We were going to take away all the electronics for the entire weekend.
I’ve heard silence before, but that was rare and entirely foreign in my home and while it was in this instance brief, it was none the less quite breathtaking. Of course, that was just the calm before the storm. The subsequent squall that ensued was only slightly less intense than a baby daddy reveal on the Jerry Springer show.
It seemed that the children were a little hesitant to jump aboard and embrace the days of yore, when technology was a tv with 13 channels and no remote. Our phones were tied to walls and if we wanted to watch a movie we had to rent one at the video store and make sure we remembered to rewind it. Our music played on record players and the pictures we shot took a whole week to develop.
We told them more stories of our own childhoods, explained the freedom and joy of being outside, building forts and riding bikes. We couldn’t wait to be free of the confines of our homes and rarely would appear back unless hunger overtook us or it was too dark to play capture the flag.
They stared the stare of great sadness as they came to terms with their impending loss. They realized it was fruitless to argue. We had made up our minds. They asked a few questions.
How would they cope without Netflix?
… What would this new existence feel like if it couldn’t be shared on Instagram?
Also, my favorite … If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it … does anybody #care?
We gathered up the devices and the experiment began.
It was without a doubt the longest, most painful weekend I can remember in quite some time. It rained every day and every night. They couldn’t play outside, they didn’t ride their bikes, or climb trees, or play kick the can. They just stayed inside. They fought, and argued, and tortured each other to the point that I almost ran away from home. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mondays, but last week I was very pleased to see it arrive.
You see, it was my fault. I had failed to teach the fun of being stuck inside on a rainy day, of playing board games and baking cookies and building forts inside. I tried at one point, but I was met with little enthusiasm and I think one of them might have growled at me. So I just backed away slowly.
Next time I will have weather contingency plans. Yes, there will be a next time, because I want my kids to be free and unplugged and able to communicate ideas in real time and not just by text. Technology has made itself quite at home in the twenty first century, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pack it up and send it camping from time to time.


32 responses to “The Weekend technology forgot

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  1. Great idea, but Mother Nature apparently didn’t want to cooperate. By the way, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it … does anybody #care?” was a great line.

  2. That was superb and so typical of families in 2014..having said our house its only me and the hub. I have laptop, ipad, iphone plus two other mobile phones. Hub has his iphone… can i imagine a weekend without them..never, not no how, . I think that the world would come to an end if my communication with the outside was halted. My ipad comes to bed with me so that I can read my kindle before sleep and first thing in the morning I check to make sure the world has not ended whilst I slumbered…….how sad……and 20 years ago I would never ever have touched anything computerised

  3. I have to admit that I am often too lazy to go to my daughters bedroom, from mine, a mere 5 m away and so I text her. Sad, but true. But we do have technology-free meals. That would just do my head in!

  4. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything while reading this, or it would have come right out of my nose.

    Super funny treatment of a very real problem. Thank you.

  5. Ae-ae-men!
    My granddaughters (six and ten) lost their ‘toys’ because they wouldn’t stop fighting. I’ve never seen such l.o.n.g. faces. Sorry, your post made me laugh and I remembered what it’s like at our house. We need to unplug. You’re a wonderful mom. 😉

  6. #LoveThis

  7. I can imagine the idea went down just like a released balloon filled with hydrogen! Especially in the rain. Do they read?

  8. Nope nota chance 🙂 but damn impressed you did it!

  9. I’m glad you’re going to try it again. I hope the weather will be more cooperative because I think it will make quite a statement to your kids.

  10. This is amazing, and needs to be instituted in our house for a while…not for the kids, they’re only 1.5 and 5….but for my wife and I. Between the blogging, Esty, Pinterest, facebook, and a multitude of apps and games…WE need to remember what it was to go outside.

  11. You know you gave me a great idea – but for me. Even though I remember well of the days of playing outside till dark, playing kick ball and unlike you we had no VCR or rental movies and had wait for them to come on the movie of the week on tv, (tv only had 13 channels) but still those days bring back happy memories, as does the days after I was married before technology became a staple in my home. My house was cleaner, I enjoyed the great outdoors with my kids (grown now of coarse) and I could read a book in a few days to name a few things I used to do before clued to the iPad, computer, netfllex and the internet. So my goal is to plan a weekend with no technology… only my radio (no CD’s or Pandora- gulp), my book, my journal and a bottle of Valium to help me get through this – lol Instead of thinking of it as a trial, I will call it my retreat. I will journal about it and share with everyone how I was able to turn back time. Can I do it??? Thank you for posting this – I hope many of your readers take the same approach and find that time of peace that was a part of our lives. I have vacation coming up so will plan it around then, only because with my job I am on the computer, no way around that so my vacation will by my retreat. Wish me luck!

  12. So sorry it didn’t go better for you. Maybe a whole weekend was rather like drying out an inveterate drunk who doesn’t want to, but I know what you’re talking about. I’ve dealt with it through my granddaughters and I think technology is as alienating as freeing. So sorry again. Your heart was in the right place. Maybe this will be a story about Mom they remember affectionately decades from now in a land far far away.

  13. Great idea, I think I could do with a bit less technology time, maybe a screen-free day per week or something.

  14. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Sorry it didn’t work out but hopefully next time’s the charm.

  15. Also, my favorite, “… If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it … does anybody #care?
    I love the way their minds think; the use of hashtag advocacy to drive home their points . . . 🙂

  16. Great post. I enjoyed this. Although I have no children anymore at home I practiced this myself when on vacation. It is tough I have to admit, thanks for the follow as well. Look forward to reading your post.

  17. You should try going a place with no cell reception…..

  18. BUT the big point here is: you all managed to survive the weekend, without those incessant and never-still appliances…give yourself some credit for this. I think it is wonderful that you did this. I wish I didn’t have to see EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING I encounter or notice anywhere, ‘otherwise’ constantly engaged in the electronic mania they are all obsessed with. It is a poor comment about the way our society has evolved. People who are obsessive in this way strike me as people who will find certain of life’s disappointments earth-shattering to themselves if they don’t disengage from the one-sided, ‘all-about-me’ activities more. Because, as we ‘hipsters’ know, life requires us to remember that there are REAL things outside of just ourselves which are worthy of our attention and focus. Thanks for trying this unplugging with your kids. It really will pay off that you do this now. They will be fully-rounded or close…by the time they are adults if you stay with it. You are an excellent parent, from what I can see here.

  19. Love this. It reminded me of that time long ago when you had to get up to turn the channel 😉 I do think it’s good that children and adults have days when they voluntarily unplug. Ok, perhaps it’s involuntarily for the kids but they’ll never forget it.

  20. what an exciting blog! you provide a great variety of fun
    Thank you so much for subscribing and opening the door to your world! Eddie

  21. Pingback: The Weekly List: 25 May 2014

  22. I loved this. Posted if to Facebook. But I am amazed at the technology you had in your youth. Our first tv was made by Dad, it had a nine inch screen ( as small as an iPad) we put a magnifying glass in front to make it a 12 inch screen. 13 channels! Try one! and a few years later a second channel. Did your phone have a rotary dial? Luxury! We had our number printed on the front if the black phone. Pick up the receiver and wait for an operator to notice you.

    Thank goodness for the wireless. We could curl up on the floor with our heads next yo the cloth coveted speaker and listen ‘listen with mother’.

    Then go out and play rain or shine, ah those were the days.

    Still laughing at the experiment. I can imagine the interesting feedback you received.

  23. Sounds like we had a similar plan. It’s actually not been truly horrible. I actually removed the Wii and TV from the family room and have managed to keep both hidden for almost two weeks now. There are days when I long to just sit and vegetate in front of the ‘boob tube’ again and consume a bag of Doritos but so far I’ve kept things under control. We’ll see how long it lasts.

  24. Hilarious and yet thought-provoking!

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