It’s taken 2 days into the camping-venture to slowly detox, but they are now ready to let go of the devices and embrace lying in an Eno for recreation. Think of that word! Re- creation. What do you want to re-create , or reproduce? People shooting each other? Moving the thumbs a bit?
Or the smell of pine needles and paddling a kayak? I’m occasionally going to go “x-box nazi” on my kids. I’m going to limit their electronic time and give them guidelines. But as much as I want to- I’m not going to burn all of the electronics, because that’s not freedom. They have to decide WITH all of the options. If you remove all of the options, it’s not a decision or choice, it’s just what you’re left with.
And I have to accept that they are not always going to do what I WANT them to do with their time. I have to be ok with that and let them make decisions. I do not always agree with their decisions, and I sometimes pull the “mom card” and make a decision for them. But they need to make the wrong one sometimes to learn what everything feels like. When they get it right- when they get it wrong. When they wish they did something else…for next time.
I want them to have the freedom and options and STILL choose the good, better, best thing. We’re still trying to figure out how to do that. There has to be a balance to living here and not being like everyone else, yet able to relate to anyone.
It could be that it starts with not judging. We do what we think will work- and you do what you think your people need, and we will respect each other’s decisions and give each other a break. And our kids can hang out and like some of the same things and learn how to be with people even when they aren’t the same. And I won’t feel guilty about not allowing my kids on devices. And I won’t feel guilty if you’re nixing them while I let mine have a fortnight marathon. And you won’t feel guilty if you see us hiking. And WE all won’t feel guilty because we are all doing what we are doing right now. It could change tomorrow.
But occasionally we will go camping and choose not connect to WiFi and let them experience it so they know what they’re choosing, and so they can FEEL the difference for themselves. I can only hope that once they taste and smell and experience the contrast, that they will choose to unplug for themselves once in a while, and enjoy nature a bit.
And then I’ll let them relax in front of a screen, because -let’s face it- we start out like this…
But eventually, this happens. When you’ve been sleeping in a tent and using a communal bathroom. Get real.