Okay, I admit it. My family is plugged in. It seems at any given time, somebody, somewhere in this house is either watching tv, playing a video game, piddling on the computer or blasting through Ipad apps. The kids fight over who gets to do what and when. My son disappears hours at a time due to the lure of a good video game. My husband can be known to do the same (until he sees the look in my eyes that tells him I’ve about had my fill of Daddy-here-but-not-here). I have a love-hate relationship with it all…scrolling Facebook and despising the time it took, posting our adventures on this blog and getting aggravated because something with the photos or the site or whatever other inevitable glitch happens caused 20 minutes to turn into 2 hours.
On one hand, I believe that it is difficult to function in society these days without a good grasp of the technology available. On the other hand I think…it’s difficult, but not impossible. There are days when I look upon the Amish families that are abundant in this area with a sort of awe.
After what seems like too long of a stretch of media overkill, I can be known to dream of getting “back to the basics” and fantasize about smashing X-boxes and tossing computers out the window. In fact, at one point in time, I came dangerously close to doing just that.
However, I know that this is impractical in my household…if for no other reason than because the precedent has been set. We are entrenched. We are accustomed. We LIKE downtime, where we aren’t always on the go, go, GO! And what better way to engage our minds (or not) without much effort than through media outlets? Tater Tot has probably taught herself half the things she’s learned this year through BrainPop alone! (An excellent source of kid-friendly, educational videos, by the way.)
However, despite all of this, I desire…no I NEED…nature. I need to go outdoors and get away from my phone and the internet. I thrive on simplicity and seek to establish it any way I can in my own home. I need it and I believe my family does, too. That is why I try to balance all these conflabbid, newfangled gizmos with plenty of sunshine and fresh air (or barely tolerable snow-covered frigid days, depending on the season). We get outside and just be. Those are the days when I truly feel more at peace and at ease with myself and the world.
Here is an example of one such lovely day that started out with little more direction than “No more Ipad! Let’s go to a new park”. We drove around a nearby town and found several…some we had been to, some not. Boo Bear picked a smaller one that ran alongside a creek. At first glance, Tater Tot decided it wasn’t going to be a fun park and spent the bulk of the time we sat eating lunch at the picnic table pouting about the choice that was made. However, once we all decided to bypass the playground area and check out the covered bridge by the creek, a whole new attitude emerged.
The girls spotted butterflies basking on the rocks and the fluffy tree pollen was in the air, giving Sweet Pea plenty of amusement as she tried to catch the “fuzzies”. She and I also took a small walk and looked at bugs in the trees, saw a tree trunk that made me think of a dinosaur and spied a bumblebee in the flowers.
It wasn’t long at all before the girls kicked off their shoes, made their way onto the muddy banks, and finally ended up traversing across rocks in the stream.
Other kids came and some even found deeper areas and started to swim. At one point, the girls made some friends and they all were observed trying to use sticks and other items to try to leverage a log into the water in the hopes of using it to float down the stream. It was fun to watch them brainstorm and carry out methods until they found the simple machine that worked. Much to the girls’ dismay, though, they did not get a chance to see their effort through to fruition. It was time to go and I wasn’t going to let them float down the river on a makeshift raft, so to speak. Not this time, anyway. Nevertheless, the kids all had a great time and Daddy and I enjoyed sitting on the bank watching them wholeheartedly play in the simplicity of nature.
I like technology and the positive ways it can be used and I don’t foresee my family ever going tech-free, but I truly do enjoy those days when there isn’t an electronic gadget in sight.