What would happen if we all turned off our screens for a few hours every night? What if we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Lego Batman, Disney Channel, and Candy Crush for just a few hours? Would the world stop turning? Would our faces melt? Would we go into withdrawal? My family has been answering this question for a few months now.
I’m happy to say my face is still intact.
About 2 months ago we started a new rule at home: no screens from 5:00-8:00 every night. I thought this would be more akin to my childhood. We only had THREE channels back then (assuming we could dial them in on the tuner and rabbit ears). When I came home from school every afternoon, cartoons were on for one hour and G.I. Joe was a daily indulgence.
Once the afternoon hour of cartoons ended, TV was off my radar until Cosby, Silver Spoons, or Small Wonder graced the screen during Prime Time. I wasn’t interested in watching the evening news, so my brother and I did something that’s almost taboo these days…
WE PLAYED OUTSIDE.
And (gasp) we liked it.
We rode bikes with banana seats. We climbed trees. We played catch (often pretending to be Mike Schmidt). We rounded up all the neighborhood kids and played war with toy guns, stick swords, and pine cones that doubled as hand grenades. We used old mattresses from dumpsters to perfect our back flips.
I hypothesized that by turning off all screens for a few hours every evening, we might be able to recapture some semblance of real family life and interaction.
Lo and behold, I was right. (I love the sound of that phrase.)
Our experiment has been fantastic. My three children (son, 8, twin daughters, 7) have found the joys of imaginative and active play. They ride bikes. They play outside. They perfect their backflips (on our trampoline rather than an old, ratty mattress). Last week we played baseball every night. This week it’s been basketball.
By simply shutting off all screens, our family has spent more time together in the last two months than ever before. And the real shocker—we’ve all actually enjoyed it.
Our society has slowly been sucked out of this God-made world and into a man-made world. The online world is made, kept, and fueled by man. It’s a dangerous, hostile world devoid of all moral guidelines. We were not created to exist in such a man-made world, yet many of us have moved in and settled down there.
We were created to exist in God’s world. God’s world is beautiful, and God’s creation can bring us great joy. I’m challenging us all to begin once again living—existing—in God’s world rather than man’s world.
So be intentional and DISCONNECT. Your hands might shake for awhile without Facebook or Candy Crush at your fingertips, but I promise your face won’t melt. In fact, you might even get a tan. And trust me, you need one.
“Turn off the screens and turn on the love.”
(Read that last sentence in your best Barry White voice. It’s more effective that way. And if you find a way to Tweet it in Mr. White’s voice, do share.)Keep Reading! The Dangers of Knowledge What’s My Line? the loss of personal convictions I Miss Mayberry