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TBH, IDK, 4, 4U, 4COL; I confess, my texting abbreviations are unrecognizable to most. In fact, I had no idea there was an actual website dedicated to keeping up on the latest text lingo. I expect it’s used by moms like me; busy trying to learn what our kids are “chatting” about.
But despite our propensity for texting, when I invite friends over to celebrate this wonderful time of year, I want to make sure our conversations don’t include abbreviations. When my son yells “MOM,” I want to know he means, “Mom, I want to tell you what I’d like for Christmas,” instead of having it be short for “Made of Money.” Of course, you can never be sure with kids. To my 15-year-old, it likely means both.
During the holiday season, traditions abound. We spend time with family, catch our favorite Christmas play, pay a visit (or two) to the mall, often while on cell phones texting or googling our next destination. So I’m proposing a new holiday tradition: 36 hours without technology. Sound crazy? Maybe.
A time for fasting
Of course, my idea comes on the heels of having ordered (online) almost everyone’s gifts, booked (online) our spring vacation, checked (online) for movie times, and purchased (online) our tickets for a play. But with all that behind me, it might be the perfect time for a tech fast.
We’d turn off the TV, istuff, tablets, and game consoles. Without our phones, there would be no Instagram, no Facebook, or tweets. That could be nice. How would you spend your tech-free day? Maybe you’d go outside and play in the green stuff, called grass, or talk a hike on that brown stuff, called dirt. Or maybe sit by the fire pit in the cold night air to look at the shiny white stuff, called stars. Can you imagine 36 hours without dings, chimes, chirps, or chats? The silence could be deafening.
I think my husband would find the lack of technology akin to a natural disaster. Our son would find it just plain weird. Our children would need to be reassured they’d done nothing wrong. We’d tell them we were just experimenting, in an effort to return to the days when communication didn’t involve technology. As for the tweets and chirps, those would be the birds singing. Dings? That would be the oven timer signaling dinner is ready.
These 36 hours would allow a family to hold actual face-to-face conversations. You could invite familiar people into your home, called friends. There would need to be one rule, though, you’d have to speak in complete sentences.
Let’s have a reality check
You know the 78 people who follow you on Facebook? When was the last time you spoke to them? Do you even like them? Many people think it’s been great to reconnect with friends from high school. But if you’ve spent a decade without them that should give you a clue as to how close you really are. It is fun to discover what classmates are doing, that’s what high school reunions are for.
In truth, I enjoy living in the moment; being able to make a call and grab lunch and have uninterrupted conversations. I can see my friend’s expressions and “feel” their emotions, which I often can’t do when reading texts or emails.
If we imposed our 36 hour tech fast, we might actually enjoy conversations with people we only “visit” once a year. My best friends include some who live out of town. To me, something magical happens when best friends visit in person or call on the phone, the lapse in our communication melts away and it feels as if no time has passed since we last spoke. We are still best friends.
Without technology, can I put up and enjoy the Christmas lights or Starry Nights. Even share hot chocolate with friends. I do agree that a world without technology would probably not work well in our modern times, but 36 hours? Come on, I’m planning that journey and it won’t require a single device. HBU? (How about you?)