Living in a Quiet House

Reading the title of this article, you are probably laughing.  A quiet house?  What’s that??  It’s true, if you have children, the house is only quiet when they are asleep and even then the silence is fragile!

So I am not really talking about a quiet house in the sense of no noise, but rather in the distractions of the outside world.

My children are deprived.  I do feed them, clothe them, and chauffeur them around to activities.  But we don’t have fancy Xboxes, Kinects, or even ipads or tablets.  In fact, our phones aren’t even Smart phones.  We have unfancy, pay-by-the-minute, dumb phones.  It’s not that we don’t like technology.  It’s just not something we’ve gotten into.

I did feel a twinge of guilt when my third-grade daughter came home from school last week and reported that a boy said she was weird because she told him she didn’t have a gaming system.  I told her that I was sorry he said that.  And she very casually said, “That’s okay.  I like that we are different and that we don’t have all those things.”

technologyI realized how behind the technological times we were about five years ago when my then kindergartener son was playing on the playground with some new friends.  One of the friends was misbehaving and the mother’s dialogue was like this.

“You stop that right now, or you lose your PlayStation!” Child continues behavior.  “Okay, then, you’ve lost it!  No PlayStation!”

“I said stop it or I’ll take away your Xbox!  Right now!”  Child still continues behavior less vigorously.  “Fine, you’ve lost your Xbox too!”

“Now come down and behave or you’ll lose your Kinect too!”  Finally, the child changed gears and behaviors, but it left my head spinning at how little my child had compared to others his age and it made me wonder if socially, it would have an effect on him.

Now, five years later, we still don’t have any gaming system.  We do have a computer that they can play games on so they aren’t totally behind the times.  But the computer is tucked away in the basement locked with a password so it’s not easily accessible.  I was in heaven a year and a half ago, when my husband bought me a laptop to work on.  It has given me so much freedom!  I could just check my email for that school meeting quickly before I made lunch rather than trooping downstairs to the lowest corner of the basement where I swear there is a time vacuum located in the walls!  And truly this technology was a case of improving my quality of life.

So if you have technology and love technology, I am definitely not berating it.  I can totally see the value of being able to send an email or check the weather on your phone in the pick-up line.  And using the Kinect to get your kids active when the weather isn’t cooperating is terrific!  Personally, I just can’t stomach the price tag, and right now, I don’t know what I am missing!  Don’t ever ask me to give up my DVR though!  I don’t know how we lived without those!  Now we can actually watch our favorite shows after the kids go to bed, rather than missing them!

And obviously as evidence of my website, I believe that technology is good and useful!  It can reach people in ways that a phone call or a wave across the parking lot can’t.  Texts are terrific for letting someone know you are thinking of them or you are running late.  Email is my favorite way of communicating with others and sharing God’s love for them.unplug

But in general, I find that I can be easily distracted by technology.  I can let time slip away from me when I am technologically distracted.  My kids seem to fight more after  they have played their computer games.  For me personally, I feel like we are disconnected as a family if we are frequently plugged in.

So what we chose to do as a family is to not let technology rule our leisure time.  We limit the amount of computer game playing to just a day or two a week.  Television shows are limited and if the television is on in the evenings, it is for a family show that we all sit down for.  I like it that when I am with my kids, I am truly with them and not just in the same room as them.

The quiet, or unplugged, house allows me to appreciate my family more.  I love that they love books and can get lost in the stack of library books that I bring home.  I also tend to hear God more in our “quiet” noisy house.  I can hear Him reminding me of how precious a gift my children are.  I can feel  the Holy Spirit nudge me toward times of teaching the faith to my kiddos in every day situations.  I can pull Jesus into their interests and personal stories.  I am not distracted by outside information, just my kids telling me how their day was.  It is definitely an effort.  And sometimes, when the weather is too hot and the kids are bouncing off the walls, it’s easier to just flip on a movie for them to watch, but as long as electronics don’t dominate our week, I feel like we are ruling technology rather than the other way around!

How do you unplug for more quality family time?

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