We came to the woods to live intentionally with nature – to be awake and alive under the trees, to bury bare-feet in mud and leaves, feel the earth seep in, and grow. We came to live simply, but the world sneaks in.
The world is so shiny and attractive, it distracts with promises of long-distance community and meaningful engagement. There can be value to our online interactions – some of my dearest. friendships were formed through blogging and emails, and my husband and I do value the relationships we’ve formed online, but the screens themselves can’t be allowed to intrude on our daily relationships – the people we see and touch each day.
These days, we parents have a tendency to turn to technology to fill in our children’s days: 6 and 7 year olds have tablets all their own, glowing kindles instead of books, video games, “learning tools”, who knows what else. It is an abundance of loneliness though, because what children want and need most: closeness and affection with a beloved person, they can’t get via technology. In fact, too much screen time seems to make actual relating even harder.
I do believe that regular screen time -whether educational or not – is detrimental for both children and adults. But while we are raising our babes ‘far from the maddening crowd’, even our life demands an online presence. This blog, our instagrams, my husband’s etsy shop, all demand screen time. And we love connecting with our far-flung friends! But being available in these ways is insidious, it eats away at time and changes how we focus on the world within reach.
I want my children to see me using technology in an intentional way, and see me casting it aside often in favor of real moments in time and real relationships in the world. Sometimes, I think we rest on our laurels as off-grid homesteaders and end up letting too much tech in despite the limits we’ve set on ourselves. We can do better, and this Advent, we’re going to do better! Here’s the plan:
All tech (phones, tablet, radio) can only be used between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30am; 1:30 and 4:30pm; and 8 and 9pm. At all other times we’ll be unreachable. And in those times, I hope to be as intentional as possible with tech, using it for the platforms we value and avoiding the fillers. Sundays will be tech free entirely for me, and I hope, for our whole family.
What do you think? Want to join me in my little, Advent-retreat?