Friday, May 13, 2011


Being a homeschooling mom now it would be so easy to let the kids stay "plugged in" to something all the time - like computers, the wii, the DSI, games on mom's iPhone, the TV, or the leapster.  After all, "school" doesn't last all day long.  But in the last few months I have discovered the beauty in what we call "unplugged."  We turn it all off.  Some weeks we go completely unplugged with the exception of an occasional television program.  There are no exceptions during these weeks or days when mommy declares it unplugged.  I find these are the times when my kids play best together, let their imaginations run wild, and get to act like kids instead of zombies hypnotized by electronics.  I must admit that it is harder for me.  It is so easy to give them an electronic device to keep them quiet so I can go about my business and not have to play referee or direct them to clean up all of their toys they got out while playing.  But the rewards are so much greater.  Now if I could only learn to unplug a little more myself!  I sure don't want my kids to grow up thinking their mom was always on her phone or computer.  So there is a challenge not only for how much time you allow your kids to plug in, but also for how much time you stay plugged in.

While reading online tonight I came across an article by James Dobson (who I LOVE) called "CHARACTER IN A TECH-OVERLOADED WORLD."  Here is an excerpt from that page.  I love that he used the term unplugged, though I thought I had an original idea :).

Entertain Me! … Or Maybe Not

"A 2006 Yahoo online poll reported that the average U.S. family owns 12 tech devices, including three TVs, two computers, and seven other gadgets such as MP3 players, video game consoles and mobile phones. Poll respondents said their overlapping use of all these devices adds up to about 43 hours during each 24-hour day.3 Sound like your house? 

Unless we make a deliberate effort to unplug, we can literally be entertained all day long. That doesn't leave much room for important spiritual pursuits like praying (1 Thes. 5:17), meditating on God's Word (Josh. 1:8, Ps. 1:2) and examining ourselves (Lam. 3:40, 1 Cor. 11:28 and 2 Cor. 13:5). It's not that technology is bad, but its constant presence can distract us from important exercises that make our spirits strong.

Whatever our normal tech-drenched state is, let's call its opposite contentment. It's the ability to be still (Ps. 37:7, Ps. 46:10, Zech. 2:13) — to be alone with our thoughts and be at peace (Prov. 14:30; Is. 26:3, Jn. 14:27, 2 Tim. 1:7). Getting there in today's culture takes some work, but it's possible. We can start with the biblical discipline of fasting — but instead of fasting from food, we can fast from technology. Pick a week and turn off the TV. Stay off the Internet for a day. Once in a while, leave the radio off when you get in the car. Create some space in your life — and your kids' lives — that's free from electronic input.

Another practical option is to teach kids to be comfortable with silence and solitude. In later years, these can become rich spiritual disciplines, but with little ones the goal is to help them get comfortable with noiseless time in their lives. Start by declaring a tech-free hour each afternoon or evening. Books are definitely allowed in this quiet zone, as are walks outside and time spent on hobbies. A gadget-free hour probably isn't practical every day, but honoring this quiet time often can create in kids a lasting appreciation for a bit of peace and quiet."

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