Being a recreation therapist, I’m not a big fan of television. There are just SO many other productive and fun things to do with your time! I’m sure most of you would agree, BUT I’m not about to lie and say that I never watch television. Sometimes brainless staring at a screen is just what the doctor ordered. (As long as it is in moderation.)
Television and media in general definitely have their drawbacks when it comes to family. A recent comment from one of our readers said, “Over the weekend, I happened to notice that there was a point when all six of us were sitting within talking distance of each other, yet the room was silent of discussion as each family member was focused on some electronic device. It is a battle I fight in my home because regardless of how well meaning our time is spent using electronics, ultra-diligence is needed to ensure that they do not replace the bonding time- giggling, doing, chatting, memory making time- that families so desperately need!”
All over the world, families are struggling with this problem. In an article by Quentin L. Cook, a woman from New Zealand was quoted saying, “The biggest enemy of family life…Television. Families are TV rich and family-time poor.” I think she hits it right on the spot. We cannot let these tools cut into our family time. On researching this topic, I came across an amazing idea from the Jewish faith discussed in the New York Times. Over the last two years, a group of them have instituted a National Day of Unplugging. The goal of this day is to “slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world,” and to “reconnect with friends, family, the community and themselves.”
What a perfect idea! I loved it, thinking of all our family could do together and how many amazing conversations we would have, and then I got nervous. What if someone needs to call me? What about my email? The Biggest Loser Finale might be on? How will I know my schedule? And the excuses could go on forever. Did you have some of these good ones pop into your mind? Then, I thought, but do I really NEED any of these things. I have chatted with some people who have done a similar exercise calling it a technology fast. They said it was such a peaceful feeling not to be connected to something all day long. They also discussed how fun it was to pull out some board games and come up with things to do as a family. The Jewish Manifesto written for the day has ten principles that one must follow to be in accordance with their holiday, which you can read about here. But, needing a little more direct guidance for myself, I have decided to make ten of my own principles for our family’s “day of unplugging.” (Although some of mine will be in accordance with the Jews.)
Thompson Day of Unplugging
1. Do not even think about turning on the television.
2. Let your family know you will be doing this and just turn off your phone for the day. It’s quite unlikely someone will have urgent news that can’t wait until tomorrow. (This includes Ipads :))
3. Turn off the computer and leave it off ALL DAY LONG. (I know it will be hard, BREATHE, you can do it).
4. Avoid other technology if possible.
5. Play games with your family.
6. Connect with loved ones.
7. Get outside.
8. Avoid commerce. (Grocery stores, restaurants, etc.)
9. Find Silence.
10. Do something good for someone else.
What a great day this would be! So, plan your own family “Day of Unplugging”!
I’ll let you know how ours goes….