This Sunday we declared to the children that we were honoring the Sabbath by being “unplugged” (except for music we said). They learned about this upon immediately asking with sleep in their eyes, “Can I play WII?” They were not pleased with this decision.
“What will we do?” was their reply. My husband and I were quite amazed at how quickly the children have forgotten the true pleasure of playing – unplugged. While the children could easily live without TV and movies, it was their favorite computer game and the WII that they felt quite cut off from.
To make matters more interesting, our oldest decided to “outsmart us” a.k.a. sneak her favorite computer game. Well when she was caught like the fox with the feathers in her mouth, we were all forced to come to terms with new depths of honesty and with what this Sabbath declaration meant to each of us. It was hard.
During my “QII” time (coining a S. Covey phrase), I had my laptop to write on and I had such an urge to write. However, doing so required I be plugged in. So, to be in good standing with the agreement of our day, I chose not to get on-line either. But it’s business, a voice fought to justify in my head. No, I decided that I must maintain the same standards I am requiring of our family members – and be honest about this – even they are not around. And, it was hard at first. Then, in the end, I was grateful I made this choice – because it was in the same vein of integrity we’re teaching our children.
I’m astounded at how insidious the electronics are in our lives. Choosing to go unplugged on Sunday brings to light how connected we are to our electronic devices much of the time. More than the physical connection is the mental one. Especially with our children, we were amazed to discover how quickly our kids seemed to have forgotten how to dig into their toys and games and just play.
This was the day we decided to clean out a pile of collected stuff in the basement. And the project turned into a true treasure hunt. Suddenly all three children were having a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around their play kitchen and pretend castle. Soon after that our son discovered that the astronaut suit we bought him two years ago fits perfectly – and joyfully added the helmet to complete the uniform….all to plant himself in the biggest reading chair of our home with a book! To see him in his glory – dressed up to go to space, and reading – was priceless!!! It’s been months since he dressed up in anything besides dirty clothes.
Minutes afterwards, the girls were happily playing with the dolls and clothes great-aunt Linda gave them during our move in 2009. The girls dressed the dolls and packed them up for a pretend trip – and were on their way throughout the house with the dolls in their arms. It was the most action those dolls had seen in months. And it was the most sweet, natural fun I’d seen the sisters have in a long time, too.
As our Sunday dinner was cooking, my husband took the kids out for some good old-fashioned baseball! Our oldest was thrilled to discover how well she is catching now. They all had a lot of fun playing with Dad.
Uncomplicated, peaceful, joyful and pure fun was our unplugged Sunday – once we got past the lesson in honesty. Yes, this is a Sabbath tradition we’re keeping. It’s one choice we can make that helps us stay connected to the truer gifts God has given us – in the present – with each other. At the end of the day, we had smiles on our faces for a day well spent in , joyful togetherness.