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Dallas, Texas, United States

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Family Funday

My wife Shannon and I decided to try what has been called Screenless Saturdays or Digital Sabbath. Our specific variation on this popular practice is to ban any form of electronic entertainment from bedtime at eight P.M. until that same time the next day. The idea is to disconnect from devices and reconnect with each other in person.

I started by unplugging the Internet router and confiscating my child's smartphone. Complaints started immediately from those in the habit of falling asleep watching television. I picked up a book that has been on my headboard shelf for a long time.

The next morning, the children slept in instead of arising early to play on their computers in the living room as they usually do. When everyone was up, we drove to the city zoo. In between bouts of fun, a child would grumble a bit, having momentarily remembered to protest.

We read to the children and played card games with them. I introduced the children to a word game in which players make up a story together by each adding one word in turn. The children played with the bubble machine and dug in the sand.

I did yard work without the benefit of an audiobook or music. I know I am old now because my mind has a lifetime of memories to ruminate over while my hands are engaged in menial labor. I guess some quiet time is needed to sort things out.

I chose Saturday instead of Sunday as our day of electronic abstinence because our local sailing club frequently meets on Saturdays. In the past, our children have been reluctant to leave their computers to go sailing with me on a pleasant day. I am hoping they will make different choices now that it is sailing versus board games.

Speaking of board games, books, and blankets, I think this also ties in to the hygge trend. Part of being cozy and comfortable with those around you is being present. This is hard to do when locked into perpetual combat in a virtual Valhalla.