By Reba Phelps
In a joint family effort to rescue and redeem ourselves from an overabundance of screen time we made a conscious decision to simply put our phones down as much as possible. Just step away from the electronics for a while to enjoy the little things in life.
As a family, we decided to take walks together, cook more meals together and read. We made an effort to not let our phones be the first thing we pick up in the mornings. This proved extremely hard as I use mine as an alarm clock.
And, if I am being brutally honest, I would need to confess my sins. Mom had slightly more of a screen time addiction than my offsprings did. This is not normal behavior. I am a middle aged woman and should detest technology, apps, social media and any joy that a smart phone has to offer. Parents are supposed to be the role model and not the cautionary tale.
To begin the healing process for me I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for thirty days. I also deleted my Instagram and Twitter account for thirty days. I deleted my SnapChat off and on for the thirty day trial period because I decided I was missing the funny videos exchanged between mother and daughter and my work friends. It wasn’t a great excuse but SnapChat was my least used app anyway.
We even decided to take a mother-daughter road trip to San Antonio to enjoy the Texas Hill Country.
The only stipulation was I asked my girls to not pick up their phones until we got past Many, LA. I assumed this would be a major struggle for the twenty-seven mile hike and we would bicker until we made it to our destination. Before we left the house we prayed for a safe trip and that really set the tone for us. We were already in good spirits. No one even mentioned the moratorium that was placed on electronics.
Words cannot describe how much we laughed, enjoyed each others company and poked fun at each other for various reasons. I am sure that when people passed us they questioned our sanity.
Once we crossed into downtown Many, I knew in my heart this is where we would say our goodbyes. I would tune into my Podcast list and they would turn their affection to whatever Netflix held for them. Funny thing happened in Sabine Parish though.
No one picked up a phone. We just kept visiting and laughing.
We each took a turn playing DJ and ended up listening to a smorgasbord of music. Taylor Swift. Dwight Yoakam. Waylon Jennigs. Lauren Daigle. We even threw in a little old school rap.
We drove through Toledo Town and admired all of the new construction (with awesome BOM signs in front of them). Still no one dove for a phone. We crossed Pendleton Bridge. Still chatting. Still laughing and sharing past stories about years gone by. We were having so much fun and a screen was nowhere to be found.
I will spare you the boredom of the turn by turn navigation of the road trip but I kept a close eye on the clock so I could measure every ounce of our enjoyment. We cherished a solid three hour screen-free journey. I was simply amazed and appreciative that we made it way past Many just having each other as our entertainment.
Once we were past Lufkin the road didn’t look very familiar to me. But maybe our navigation found a new and more improved route. Famous last words. It appeared that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. The paved state highway in which we were traveling soon turned to gravel and none of us had a cell phone signal.
The feeling of concern grew heavier and it just lingered in the air. I was the adult in charge so I tried to make my daughters feel safe and secure. Fake it until you make it. We were making small, nervous talk until, we looked out the side window and noticed the most majestic triple rainbow.
It is true when they say things are bigger in Texas. This rainbow boasted the deepest hues of violet that we have ever seen. It was so astounding that we had to stop and photograph this sight. With our phones. God promises in this rainbow brought us the peace we were looking for.
When we finally made our mostly-screen-free-journey to San Antonio we were met by a special friend. An earthly angel of sorts. She so graciously opened her home to us for the duration of the trip and even played tour guide for the first day. We were blessed beyond measure on our journey for many reasons.
We had ample time to enjoy each other as God intends for us to find joy with our family.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
1 Peter 4:8-11