I’d done my best to endure it – but I couldn’t take much more. The mind-numbing gazes into the devices that left my sons looking more like zombies and less like people had finally crawled all the way under my skin.
They could go for hours on-end, you know. Between the “snapping” on snap chat, incessant checking of Instagram (I’ve been informed that though I’m in my 40s, “FaceBook is for old people”), and the mesmerizing video game mainstays, my kids seem to believe that if they are deviceless for more than twenty minutes, the world may implode.
I am not convinced.
Now don’t get me wrong. Though I’m a late bloomer, I can’t even tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my share of Candy Crush – and I’m not opposed to indulging in some of the bells and whistles of devicedom – within reason; but, what I really remembered and treasured from my childhood? Family time. Game time! Talking. Sharing a meal, and sharing – our lives (the kind where you actually look at people, ask questions, respond beyond three-word answers and enjoy it). So, I de-deviced them (sorry, I’m on a roll with making up words today), and I told them we were going to play one of the childhood classics I grew up with: Monopoly.
Insert the moans, groans, eyerolls and crestfallen countenances. Needless to say, they were less than anxious to get started. Clearly, their online-social lives (if you can even call it that) were far more entertaining, but within minutes of grasping the concept – something amazing happened. Familiar. Reminiscent of childhood glee.
My very competitive boys drew an interest in “Now, how do I win this game?” One of my favorite questions after several fast-paced transactions was, “Is that even legal?” And of course, educator that I am, I had to throw in several impromptu life lessons, followed by, “And that happens in real life, too” and “…and that’s why I tell you…because, that’s true…”
Someone was unnerved to be trumped by a sibling in the simulated world of property management. There was distinct satisfaction derived from collecting rent, amassing assets, negotiating deals, “stacking cash” and potentially (though unsuccessfully), beating their mother (smile).
What I noticed additionally is that “we” forgot to check our phones.
“We” were unconcerned about periodic electronic alerts and random conversations.
Anxiety (I don’t want to land on blank, because then I’ll have to pay…)
Hope (i.e., I really hope I land on that so I can…and then…).
Planning (if not, scheming, lol. If I do…then I can, and that will help me…) I think this would count as critical thinking…!
And the best part, a request: “Can we play this again?“
And that was after playing over two hours…
Again, we did play. Two days ago. And the 14 yr. old who lost the first time pummeled my husband and I and his older brother. To say that he was elated would be an understatement. More importantly, my family finally realized that while our electronic escapes are not evil, there is something to be desired of the quality time that families can spend with each other.
I recently read an article that informed me that my children are considered, “digital natives.” My husband and I gasped when we learned that my eldest son needed a mini-lesson at his first job on how to answer a traditional phone. It didn’t occur to us that there is no dial tone when using a cell phone. There are no numbers to physically “push,” and no trilling of the object in front of you.
Nevertheless, I don’t want their computer-based culture to rob them of the authentic joys of making a human connection. I feel that as transients in this digital age, we can sometimes become guilty of the same. Phones, computers and apps have their purpose; but, there is nothing like bonding with the people we can touch and feel – from the inside out.
This Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful way to make meaningful memories. It was nice to break up the monopoly on devices in the Brown house. I’d much rather the Monopoly that makes us remember what’s best about being a family – each other.
#havesomefun #makememories #digitaldivide #boardgames #monopoly #oldfashioned #family #life #love #carlamichelle