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Our Unplugged Week

Hello friends,

I don’t know how many of you are following our journey (you can let me know by leaving a comment or “following” the blog), but we’ve made it through our first unplugged week. While I wish I could paint a a beautiful word picture for you of compliant children that are relieved the TV isn’t on, I can’t. Both of them are still periodically asking to watch a show. My oldest has even volunteered to ride our exercise bike in hopes that she could have the TV on while she was pedaling. Nope. Not gonna happen.

It has not been as easy to stick to my decision as I thought. I’ve had moments of weakness. When my youngest came to me in tears because my oldest and her play date didn’t want to play with her, my first thought was to let her watch a show as a “treat” — a way to ease the sting of rejection. I battled in my head for a few minutes, then decided that some special reading time would be better for both of us.

I am seeing some benefits, though. My girls are playing with toys that haven’t seen the light of day in ages. They are coloring and being creative. They are playing outside more often. Some of the edge is starting to leave my 9-year-old’s voice. Even though I curbed what she watched on TV, I realized that even some of what I thought was “ok” was teaching her values that I don’t want her to embrace. Quite honestly, many of the shows I’ve seen that are directed toward tweens and teens teach kids that they are smarter than their parents. They also (in a subtle way) teach kids that a little bit of deception is ok, and that communication is meant to be conducted with catchy one-liners that hurt more than you intend. Even if the kids are caught by their parents, the scenario is always wrapped up in a neat little bow in less than 25 minutes. That isn’t how life works, and that isn’t what I want my kids to learn. I want to have respectful children that understand people are precious — all people, not just the pretty ones or the ones with the most stuff.

Are we missing out on some good educational programs over the summer? Probably. But my kids are getting to experience some pretty amazing stuff. Since they know the TV isn’t waiting for them at home, they seem to be “getting into” the experiences a little more instead of trying to “get through” them to get home and zone out. My oldest is reading books and remembering what she reads instead of trying to zip through “X” pages so that she can watch a TV program. All in all, I think my family is going to come out on the good side of an unplugged summer.

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