Time is flying by too quickly. My kids are growing up, my body is getting sore at times, and they gray hair population on my head is increasing. A little over a month ago, Liv and I were talking and realized that we were spending a lot of time with our new gadgets, laptops, Xbox, touchscreen phones, computer, and all the apps that come with them. We said in that conversation that we did not want to become one of those families with their heads buried in electronics rather than buried in relationship with each other.
The solution, a monthly media fast!
We’ve done something like this before…
Media fasts are no stranger in our family. In fact, we do one about every year for the past three whole years! Okay, that’s not much, but it’s more than most families. Our first one was in late-2010 when our pastor, Bil Cornelius, published his book I Dare You to Change. The fast lasted a week while I reconnected with my family, considered God’s plan for my life, my gifts and talents, and decided on next steps. The experience was amazing as we played board games, charades, took drives, and had conversations. The last one didn’t last as long, but we committed to reconnect in the same fashion in 2011. Every week-long media fast was like a vacation to us, without the stresses of travel and all the benefits of spending time with family, quality time.
What does a media fast look like for us?
For the first weekend of the month from Friday after school to Monday morning, we shut off all electronic entertainment. No television, no radio/CD/Pandora, no DVDs, no going to the movies, no cell phone entertainment, no social media, no computer, no Internet. There are some exceptions. We can use our cell phones to talk with family, for business/work, and emergencies. Texting is limited to those categories as well.
The whole point is that we focus on each other. In some ways this is harder than not doing a media fast, because we cannot simply run off to play games, watch tv or listen to music. There will be conflict, and we have to work through those moments. Overall, it’s well worth the effort, we see more of the outdoors together, life seems less hectic, less rushed, and I at least feel much closer to my family.
How was it?
It wasn’t bad at all. The first night was expected to be the toughest, but only Jacob seemed to have trouble with it. I think he said he was bored just three minutes into the fast beginning. We told him to read for 30 minutes, which meant he took a nap. It was the last time he said he was bored. Jacob even found a book that he enjoys reading, a strategy guide to the game “Halo: Reach”. We ended this one a bit early, Sunday evening instead of going through to Monday morning. The biggest challenge for me was wanting to go onto Facebook to make status updates about the funny stuff my kids were doing, like Jacob answering, “Who, me?” every time we called his name. I’m glad we do this. It helps me stay close to my family before I ever drift apart from them. Drifting into isolation from family is too easy these days with all the distractions life has to throw our way.
What do you do to stay connected with your family?