Saturday, December 03, 2011

hop on board

yesterday, chad broke down and told me to just go ahead and take the cat to get it's immunizations.

the poor thing had tape worms and when i went to tell the owners...they said that they didn't care and that they didn't want him.  he lives in our yard and sleeps in the garage.  he has basically decided that we are his.


i did what any animal lover would do and got him taken care of at the animal alliance.  those people are a non profit organization and fixed him right up.

 today, i gave him a good bath and that's when he ended up right back where he belongs.


tonight, we started something that i pray lasts.  last night, we ended the evening with a family meeting.  we sat in, what we call the lodge room, surrounded by the warmth and sights of the season...a season that is meant to celebrate our Savior's birth and life, but also a season that brings love, joy, generosity, hope, and closeness to family and friends.  it has come to my attention that when i make happy announcements, like..."we are going to get the tree tonight!!!!" is all too often met with a humdrum attitude of boredom.  i notice this more in chad and the boys than i do the girls...and i had to ask myself, "why?  what is happening here?" 

when i was little, i waited all year for that announcement.  i could not wait until mom, dad, kevin and i loaded into the car and headed out to builder's square to pick out the perfect christmas tree.  in the car, we would discuss the details.  do we want flocked or green?  do we want fluffy or thin?  and i can assure you...that every year...i argued for the tallest, fluffiest, flocked-ess tree there was.  shouldn't the kids be the same way?

maybe i shouldn't expect my children to get excited about all the same things that we did back then.  but still...i just know something isn't right.

i thought about it a lot over the last couple of days and came to a decision.  it was time for a meeting.

i told my family that i was sad.  i was sad because i saw where we were headed.  the reason no one seemed to be satisfied with things like christmas tree selection or christmas light magic anymore is because they are bored with anything that doesn't involve a screen.  if it isn't tv, video games, the computer, the phone, or the's boring.  and boredom is not where this problem was going to end.  i saw these relationship stealers for what they really were.  they were slowly going to intrude in such a way that we no longer want to (or even know how to) sit in the family room, around the christmas tree, and talk to each other.  we would not remember how to listen anymore.  we would not know how to communicate with one another anymore.  and we would be...bored with each other.  these screens were also very sneaky...and very good at making you frustrated and impatient when you don't have them.  it began reminding me of other addictions, and understanding that just because something wasn't an "obvious" addiction didn't mean that it was any less dangerous.  you see...the thing about sneaky addictions is that they slowly make you become angry, impatient, and irritated when you don't have them.  you become angry at the things that are getting in the way of their fulfillment.  and in this case...we were getting angry and impatient with each other (or tree decorating)  for taking us away from our addiction.

after i finished my quiet, heart felt plea...chad spoke up.

he said, "from now on...all screens are to be turned off from 5:00 until 8:00."  for the kids...that is bedtime.

no tv.  no video games.  no phones.  no ipad.  no computer.

our first night was tonight.

at 5:00, we turned everything off.

i saw a difference immediately.  i plead with you to understand the tangible and automatic difference in the countenance of my family when there was no addiction holding us in it's grip.

at dinner, we talked and we laughed and we opened the advent door for the 3rd day of december.

chase read the red slip of paper...

bake cookies and watch the polar express as a family.

we baked the cookies, popped the popcorn and celebrated annslee's first viewing of one of our favorite christmas movies.

no one complained...

no one was looking at their ds...

no one wanted to be in another room...doing something else...

and no one was on their phone or computer or ipad.

it was a great night of family.

none of us wanted to be anywhere but where we were...or with anyone other than each other.


so, here's the deal.  my family is calling this the "screen-free challenge."

we are invited you and your family to participate with us.

we would love to know who else is on board with post a comment and we will cheer you on!

i will continue to post about our advent adventures, as well.

i've sorta stacked the advent house so that our nightly activities fall where i want them to.  like, tomorrow night is making a homemade christmas card for the person of your choice.  we will get out the paper, crayons, markers, and glitter...surround the kitchen table...and listen to christmas music as we spread a little love.  the skies the break out the address book and stamps!


don't tell.

now...hop on board.

No comments: