I'm excited to write about our experience participating in the ONE.org campaign "12 Days of Change." My friend SelfishMom and ONE.org have enlisted a dozen mom bloggers to try one of 12 ways to help better the world by starting in our own communities and families. I hope this inspires someone to try one of these ideas to help make a difference - without spending a dime. . .
So what did I choose to do to support ONE.org in building awareness and bettering the world?
After dinner, turn off all electronics for one night and enjoy an evening with your family.
Simple enough, right? Those of you who know me in person know that this was actually a pretty significant sacrifice for our family. I can't remember the last time we watched a movie as a family and didn't also have our smartphones, tablets and laptops nearby to quickly look up a point of trivia, investigate a reference, or something along those lines.
I didn't have any expectations for our evening without electronics, as I was too busy planning out what we'd do. It gets dark about 4:30 p.m. these days, and we usually have the TV or stereo on while we do other things indoors. I thought we needed back-up plans for my plan, but I was proved wrong.
We started the evening by baking holiday cookies together (yes, we used the mixer and oven :-o) then frosted and decorated them in the dining room. This by itself is something we do pretty often as a family . . . but we're usually teasing each other about the playlist we're singing and dancing along to, and settling arguments over who had more taste testings of cookies and frosting.
This night we were joking around unencumbered by the sound of music, and our chatting gave way to discussions. Even the kindergartner was actively engaged for the whole decorating activity! We talked about changes we wanted to make to the house (remodeling the kitchen, is at the top of the list!), what we were giving the rest of our family, what he wanted, what his friends wanted. We analyzed why we live far from family, and what that means for the Kiddo. We talked about our recent travels, where we want to go next (Kiddo is enamored with Paris, Hawaii and China), and how rare it was for @c2cDad and me to travel as kids. We talked about why it's important to us for him to know Spanish and Mandarin before he begins college.
We gathered around the coffee table and worked on the Kiddo's LEGO castle set as a family. We were impressed with how well he could follow the pictoral instructions and what he may want to do when he's an adult. . . what we wanted to be when we were younger, and the jobs we've held. We joked about the relatives we "see" in him.
We were 100% present with each other: engaged, focused and for the first time in a long time, we didn't find ourselves multitasking or stressed about getting back to one of the five things we had in progress at once. When it was time to put the Kiddo to bed, we weren't secretly rushing to get him down because we had a host of other things waiting for us to do or emails to get back to on our laptops downstairs.
We were calm. We felt productive, relaxed, and connected . . . like a team. ONE team.
As it turns out, the next morning we ended up sorting through items in the basement as we'd chatted that night about clearing it out to transition it from a storage basement to a recreation room. We sorted items into trash, donate and sell piles and now have a Red Cross charity truck coming this week for a pick-up. So although we didn't go into our one night without electronics with this in mind, it's lingered and lived on for over a week. It's led to other discussions as the pile of donations awaits pick up...like how these items will make someone else happy, and how they'll benefit from the items more than us.
How will your ONE evening spent enjoying your family without any electronics linger around for you?