Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BACK TO BASICS (02/16/17)
TITLE: Screen Fast
By Nicki Jeffery
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The sun warmed Sally’s skin. She didn’t notice the rumble of passing cars, or the elderly man sharing her bench seat.
After a while, she yelled, “Time to go, girls!”
As she started to stand, a wrinkly hand touched her arm. His four words replayed in her mind days later, “Don’t miss their childhood.”
“You know, babe, I’ve been thinking.” Mike looked up from his iPad, the screen’s glow lighting his face in the darkness.
“Mmm?” Sally swallowed the spoon of salted caramel ice-cream and eyed her husband.
“I think it’s time we went back to basics. We might be generation Y, but we existed before iPhones and the internet.”
“Yes …” Sally said with caution.
“We’re far too addicted to these screens.”
“What are you proposing?”
“Let’s go on a technology fast for a week. No screens. Let’s see if we can do it.”
Sally’s eyes widened. She recalled with shame how she had taken her children to the cinema, and checked her iPhone halfway through the movie. How she had driven ten minutes from home and turned around because her iPhone was forgotten on the kitchen bench.
“Okay,” she said aloud.
What activities did you do with your parents when you were a child? Did you play Monopoly and read books together? Did you sit at the dining table without the distraction of television or iPhone notifications? Did you look into each other’s eyes and know their minds and hearts were connected to you?
Over Christmas one year, I turned my iPhone off. I had a week without the constant checking of social media accounts. The posting, the likes, the comments. Like Sally and Mike, I went back to basics, and it was refreshing.
Remember when schools were about the three ‘r’s? Reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic? Now our children learn from large interactive whiteboards. They work on iPads and laptops. Screens, screens and more screens.
As we wait in line at a café or supermarket, we take out our iPhones. Our toddlers sit in the trolley, eyes glued to their tablet.
The world has changed, but our ability to choose is still there. How many minutes shall I spend on social media each day or week? Will I record my child performing in the church play, or make eye contact with him and smile as he looks at me for affirmation?
Sally and Mike had a unique week without technology. They fasted from their iPads, iPhones, television and computers (apart from necessary work commitments). Their daughters were delighted with evening family walks and backyard sports. They enjoyed the impromptu trip to Cold Rock ice-creamery after dinner one night. And they found more time for reading and conversation.
“It’s strange not being able to reach for my phone whenever I want to and check for little numbers on my apps.” Sally confessed as she snuggled under Mike’s arm.
“I know.” Mike grinned. “You can do it again next week. But how about a pact?”
“Yes …” Sally said with caution.
“Let’s put our screens away until after the girls have gone to bed.” He tickled Sally under her arm. “And after we’ve had time together.”
Sally shrieked and lunged for Mike’s ticklish feet.
Later as Sally boiled the jug for their evening mugs of steaming tea, she read the verse Mike had stuck to the fridge with a magnet:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Titus 2:11,12
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