While visiting a local farm for some fall festivities over the weekend, I got to thinking about the decisions Jaala and I have made to protect our time together. One of the most life-giving decisions we recently made has been the decision to monitor our screen time and set some boundaries (primarily on social media with our smartphones). While social media certainly has its place in our life - allowing us to keep up with family and friends who we don't get to see often as well as running our business from wherever we are - we realize life isn't truly lived by scrolling our Facebook News Feed, double tapping little squares on Instagram, and checking current (more times than not, completely irrelevant) news on Twitter. Life is ultimately lived by being present and available to the people around you, especially those wonderful souls who live in the same house as you.
Here are a few boundaries we've implemented in our family, some being adopted from folks we greatly admire and respect, that are helping us keep screen time at bay:
1. Phones are off and/or put away for at least one full hour a day, one full day a week, and one full week a year.
2. Close down all screen time an hour before bed.
3. No phones allowed in the bedroom.
4. Before or after certain hours, only answer calls and reply to texts and messages from certain people.
Granted, we haven't mastered these disciplines, but we are working toward making them part of our daily routines (#ProgressOverPerfection). Two scenarios that we have to remain flexible on are (1) when we're both away from Miles at the same time, at his current age, and (2) when Jaala is "on-call" for crisis situations with her work schedule.
The world can wait. What culture says is urgent isn't always important. Every notification isn't an emergency and you don't have to be available to everyone at all times.
Miles is obviously growing up in a touchscreen, social media-saturated world, and we want him to know his value isn't found in the popularity contest many people play online (which leads to the comparison trap). As easy as it is to complain about the frequency of technology use by the next generation, we have to ask ourselves how we arrived here... How did we get to a place where our society prefers pixels over people? If we're honest, most of us can admit that we've all played some small part, one way or another. Either way, we realize distracted parenting leads to disengaged children. That said, we want to steward our time and resources in such a way that we don't look back with guilt, years from now, disappointed that our son was raised by a phone or a tablet, seeing more of the tops of our heads instead of the smiles on our faces.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you placed any boundaries around screen time in your home? If so, tell us about it below.
There's ALWAYS something to complain about - work, family, church, money, health, weather, etc. But the problem with complaining is that it NEVER (EVER!) moves us closer to where we want to be. Besides, who really enjoys being around a complainer?! I'm pretty sure only people who already complain.
Let's assume for just a minute that you're the person who feels as if you don't have much. Statistically speaking, you have more than most because you're more than likely reading this blog post from a laptop, tablet, or a smartphone. Not to mention the majority of my online community lives in the United States. Need I go on, or do you get the point? There is someone, somewhere, right now, who wishes they had what you have. There is someone, somewhere, right now, who wishes they had your problems.
If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." -Oprah Winfrey
You may be discouraged, but you don't have to complain. You may be disgusted, but you don't have to complain. You may be downright disappointed, but you still don't have to complain. A glad heart is a grateful heart, so choose gratitude today and everyday.
I challenge you to make it a point to begin and end your day with thankfulness. Start here: tell me, what are a few things you're grateful for today? I'll go first - I'm grateful for an incredible wife who never says no to a spontaneous ice cream date. I'm grateful fro a healthy, happy baby boy who already talks more than I do. (And I know that may be hard for some of you to believe.) I'm grateful for family and friends, who often think I've lost my mind when I share with them my latest idea, but they still support my crazy dreams. I'm grateful for mentors who unselfishly invest their time and wisdom with me, encouraging me to keep growing. I'm also grateful for my ride-or-die popcorn popper that has about 129,000 miles on it. (If you didn't know that popcorn was my first love, now you do.) Oh, and I'm grateful for books because I'm basically a bookworm.
Now, it's your turn to share. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
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