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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Trading Screen Time for a Healthier Family

Lent is upon us, and I thought long and hard about this before I decided to commit to it... I am giving up the use of my Smartphone while in the company of my husband and son.

There are too many times in recent memory when I half-listened to a story or missed an adorable moment because I was scanning through Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Instagram or Twitter.

A few months ago my husband and I were sitting side by side, each of us scrolling through our IPhones, and I paused.

"Why don't we pay attention to each other?" I suggested.

He half-jokingly replied, "Why? We have IPhones."

Joking aside, it's true. Sometimes while we're having an interesting conversation one of us asks a question. Soon enough the other is googling the answer and by the time we find it, neither of us cares anymore and the conversation came to a halt.

Christmas Eve 2013:
My family, showing Christmas cheer by interacting with anyone but each other.

Last Saturday as we all sat in the playroom I was scanning through my phone. My husband and son were playing and I was vaguely aware of Johnny's squawks while I browsed away. Finally I turned and saw him gazing up at me, arms outstretched, begging for my attention. He wasn't grasping for my phone, which he sometimes does - he was grasping for me. It is that memory that made me decide:

The precious few hours a week I have with my boys are more important than anything a stranger or acquaintance has to say on social media.

If it's important, I will see it later.

Smartphones are great, and they have practical purposes. I'm not saying I won't search Google Maps if we're driving somewhere, or that I won't check the weather when we're discussing plans to fly a kite. If an emergency phone call comes through, I'll pick it up.

But for the next 40 days, my phone will stay away (maybe in my pocket - baby steps) while I think about the little things we sacrifice this season in order to honor the greatest sacrifice of all.

Are you giving up anything for Lent? Have you ever made a commitment to ignore social media for your family? Please share your thoughts and stories!

P.S. I've made commitments before, and it's important to know what you're getting yourself into (but so worth it if you do). Read about the #100happydays project here, and join in the fun!

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