Learning to Live with Less

November 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Family Focus

By Khristy Hullett 

Recently Oprah based a show on learning to live with less.  Two families on the show were immersed in their technology.  Oprah took away all their gadgets—TVs, phones, computers, and video games—to see how they would fare.  One of the families owned 5 TVs, 4 IPODS, and 4 cell phones.  Before Oprah’s challenge, they often found themselves watching the same shows in different rooms.  The mother frequently texted her daughter while they were in the same house.  The families in question were shocked at the results of Oprah’s challenge.  They began doing things together as a family again—eating dinner, going for walks, taking cooking lessons.  http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20090506-tows-live-without

Funnily enough, the same month I learned about the Oprah challenge, my book club read a book from the Ladies Detective Agency series.  The book is set in Africa, and again, the conversation centered around living in a simpler time, living with less.

This is a bit of a conundrum for me.  I love my technology.  I love Facebook, my Blackberry, my email, the Internet, texting … the whole nine yards.  I do not want to give it up.  However, these shows did open my eyes to the fact that technology can be insidious and inveigle its way into every corner of your life without you even being aware of it.  I have been known to email/text my husband when we were in the same house.  In my defense, it was usually something I wanted him to have in writing, but still.  The point remains.  So in the interest of maintaining balance, we instituted a curfew in our house.  All gadgets go off at 5pm and don’t come back on until bedtime.  Well, the phones stay on for emergencies, but we don’t play/text on them.  I’m a voracious reader, but during this time, I don’t read any of my own books.  Everything is focused on the kids.  We read books and play games.  We’ve done this for about a week.

The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was without the background noise of the TV.  The second was how excited my kids were to have my undivided attention.  I don’t think I realized how often I multi-tasked to their detriment.  I’d forgotten that pretty soon they won’t want my undivided attention, and I should revel in it while I have it.  It’s heavy stuff on both sides.

Sometimes it can be a wee bit difficult.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s often impossible to play games with small pieces anywhere in the vicinity of the two-year old.  And no TV/hypnotizing devices means that the boys want to run and wrestle non-stop.  We have not resolved all our conflicts, and we do not stand around holding hands and singing Kumbaya.  But that isn’t really the point.

The 5pm ban provides some structure so we don’t fall into the technology vortex.  I want my kids to master their technology, not have it master them.  And when they think back on their childhood and their mommy, I don’t want them to remember that Mommy was always on the phone, computer, whatever.  I want them to remember—to feel deep in their bones—that whilst Mommy could hold her own with anyone in the technology stakes, she would drop it all in a heartbeat for them.

God is our ultimate example of parent.  He finds me worthy.  He sacrificed all for me.  I am never way down on his To Do list.  In following his example, I must strive every day to show my children that they too are worthy—that they are never at the bottom of my To Do list.  Time to go now.  5 o’clock approaches, and my siren of a computer needs to be shut down.  Blessings as you, too, go enjoy your children!

About Khristy Hullet

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