Sometimes I think to myself, 'now that's a great idea. I should totally do that. In fact I can't wait to do that because it is going to be the start of something amazing.' These ideas usually come to me around 3 AM, which is slightly inconvenient because I do tend to be asleep at that time. However, given the sheer genius of these epiphanies I am not prepared to tell them to make an appointment.
That is, until last week. When I forgot to not remember an idea that came to me mid slumber.
I further exacerbated the fact by mentioning it to my husband, who thought that it may be the greatest idea since sliced bread. So we decided to share it with the kids over breakfast.
The meal started light and fun; my youngest showing his siblings YouTube videos and my eldest taking selfies and posting them to snap chat. It was just your average breakfast with the family since technology put down roots in our home.
My husband and I looked at each other and knew that this was as good a time as any to share the good news. No, we weren't becoming Jehovah's witnesses; it was something with way more shock value than that.
We were going to take away all the electronics for the entire weekend.
I've heard silence before, but that was rare and entirely foreign in my home and while it was in this instance brief, it was none-the-less quite breathtaking. Of course, that was just the calm before the storm. The subsequent squall that ensued was only slightly less intense than a baby daddy reveal on the Jerry Springer show.
It seemed that the children were a little hesitant to jump aboard and embrace the days of yore, when technology was a TV with 13 channels and no remote. Our phones were tied to walls and if we wanted to watch a movie we had to rent one at the video store and make sure we remembered to rewind it. Our music played on record players and the pictures we shot took a whole week to develop.
We told them more stories of our own childhoods, explained the freedom and joy of being outside, building forts and riding bikes. We couldn't wait to be free of the confines of our homes and rarely would appear back unless hunger overtook us or it was too dark to play capture the flag.
They stared the stare of great sadness as they came to terms with their impending loss. They realized it was fruitless to argue. We had made up our minds. They asked a few questions.
How would they cope without Netflix?
... What would this new existence feel like if it couldn't be shared on Instagram?
Also, my favorite ... If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it ... does anybody #care?
We gathered up the devices and the experiment began.
It was without a doubt the longest, most painful weekend I can remember in quite some time. It rained every day and every night. They couldn't play outside, they didn't ride their bikes, or climb trees, or play kick the can. They just stayed inside. They fought, and argued, and tortured each other to the point that I almost ran away from home. I've never been a huge fan of Mondays, but last week I was very pleased to see it arrive.
You see, it was my fault. I had failed to teach the fun of being stuck inside on a rainy day, of playing board games and baking cookies and building forts inside. I tried at one point, but I was met with little enthusiasm and I think one of them might have growled at me. So I just backed away slowly.
Next time I will have weather contingency plans. Yes, there will be a next time, because I want my kids to be free and unplugged and able to communicate ideas in real time and not just by text. Technology has made itself quite at home in the twenty first century, but that doesn't mean we can't pack it up and send it camping from time to time.