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The Big Picture

The Screen Saver

Outside.  It's how I grew up.  

As far as I remember, in fact, my mother never had to make me go out and play.  Not once.  Instead, she had to make me come in.  

Is it just me, or has anyone else had to make their kids play outside this summer? 

Here's the scenario at my house.  Twice a week I enforce a screen-free day.  No computer, TV or video games.  Zip. Zero. Nada. 

Some of the kids have severe withdrawals, others barely miss it--but it is agony for most of us.

"I have just been sitting on my bed for over an hour."

"Can I log into my Facebook--only for a minute?" 

"I need to check the status on something I ordered." 

No. No.  And No.  No screens means no screens. 

Two weeks of summer down, ten more to go.

I realize it is more challenging at our house.  Hope is two and a half and, thankfully, still takes a solid nap. This means we are home for that chunk of the day, and they have to be quiet.  (I relish the quiet, but some of my kids don't share my sentiment.)

Boredom is good for kids, really. It makes them self reliant.  On screen free days this week,  for instance, mine have rip-sticked, played Uno and Bananagrams, thrown the Frisbee and produced some home-made art work.  And now ten year old Dorothy is even writing a play. 

"Made it through another screenless nap time," 13 year old Cory declared this week, throwing his arms up in victory.  Makes a mother proud.

The spell of the screen is a sad, sickening trend in this culture.  Kids miss so much.  And though summer's not what it use to be, I refuse to surrender.  To borrow a brilliant term I recently learned, I am going to Mom-Up. 

I am the screen saver,  determined to save my kids from the screen.  Won't you join me?

 "...a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." 
                                                 Proverbs 29:15b

Ten year old Dorothy, working on the set of her play. 

5 Comments to The Screen Saver:

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Tracey on Friday, June 27, 2014 1:35 PM
I no longer have kids to make go outside, but I did when they were younger. Like you said, I can't remember a time my mom made me go outside either. We knew to come in when the street lights came on. We even used the hose if we were thirsty at whoever's house we happen to be. I do remember telling my mom I was bored. She used to tell me that there will be days when I grow up that I wish I could be bored, or better yet, she would ask me how clean my room was. If I said it was clean, she would push more and ask about my closet, drawers and under my bed. I must have gone through a lot of time putting things where they weren't supposed to be. I am certainly in need of my own screen free day. When it comes to working in the flower bed, that is not an issue. I can be walking to the mailbox and the next thing I know I have dirty hands and weeds in piles in my yard that my husband has to remind me way too often to "just take out a bag" PLEASE. I love when it's the sun and warmness of spring starts because that is when my neighbors and other people in the neighborhood come out of hibernation. My dog, Mollie, loves it too because she loves to meet new people. I have to say that she has been my "wing dog" when it comes to meeting several of our neighbors. Even neighborhoods aren't the same. When I grew up we knew everyone's name as well as their pets. We went to kid's houses that we didn't even know very well because we just met them while we were popping tar bubbles. I haven't thought of that in a long time. When it was really hot, the tar that was next to the curbs had bubbles. I guess that was before bubble wrap, but that was such a fun time for me to pass the time. I know Twinmont had plenty. Another thing I remember was going to every Vacation Bible School in the area. Several churches even had busses that drove around collecting the kids. We also went out and got jobs cutting some of the neighbors lawns. That was an easy $5.00 at the time! Thanks for the reminder that just because we have TV 24/7 now doesn't mean that it needs to be on, just for the sake of the noise. Thanks for the reminder Margie! You were right about my prayers as well. I have been doing very well. We don't waste time with how things should be, but how they are now. Our amazing God allowed people to let me know that it was better to let things work in His time, not mine.
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margie on Monday, June 30, 2014 10:22 AM
Tracey, thank you for sharing that! I always appreciate when you take the time to write me--just hate that I missed our last reunion!

Debbie on Saturday, June 28, 2014 5:32 AM
You go girl! Being 14 years older than you, Baby Sister, I remember so many things we did - Made up plays like Dorothy, drew houses in the dirt where we play-lived, climbed trees, hung clothes out on a real clothes-line! The list is endless - kids are missing things! Grandkids love to go to the park by my house - it is a memory I hope they will cherish! Love you lots!
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margie on Monday, June 30, 2014 10:23 AM
Trying to get back to those simple days. Awfully hard in this culture. Thanks, sister!

Lynn VH on Monday, June 27, 2016 10:20 AM
Margie, You continue to inspire me!! Living on a farm has one huge advantage.....all outdoors, all the time! Herman is happiest outside, but we do still struggle with Frankie and "the screen". I like your "Mom-Up" idea. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts. We miss the Sims Family! Love, Lynn
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