On January 1st my family and I started a “Fast From the World” at the invitation of our bishop. We managed the entire month of January with no TV, no facebook, no Pinterest, no video games.
And it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
After the first week, TV wasn’t even an issue. My 3-year-old seemed to forget about it altogether and has learned a valuable skill she has been lacking: how to entertain herself. She and I have enjoyed a better relationship than ever before.
My older two (8 and 7) have learned to get along much better because they have been playing card games and board games together, and all 3 kids have also had massive art-creation sessions (the downside to no TV is you get stacks and stacks of paintings- think of Rapunzel’s home in Tangled).
I have enjoyed finding time to write and read- I finished On Writing by Stephen King, which is a very fun book, by the way (it’s got some language though, so beware), and I finished the book my kids and I were reading also (The Mysterious Benedict Society). SUCH a fun book! (I know I said that before too, but it’s so true.) I also re-read two books on finances to refresh my home finance skills- uh, they needed it!
So here’s my list of pros and cons for our Fast From the World
- more time with family
- more time to write
- more peace in the home/less negative influences
- children developing skills like independent play, problem solving, and cooking (Mom cooking = something interesting to do!)
- miss catching up with friends on facebook
- miss favorite music for working out/running
- miss favorite shows (anyone else love Burn Notice?)
- had to get very creative with our weekly family movie night (watched stuff like Legacy, The Testaments, and Johnny Lingo- LOL!)
- definitely miss reading fiction books- only read the one with the kids, made myself not read any on my own
So where do we go from here? Here are the changes we decided on in our Family Home Evening this week (after making our own family list of pros & cons):
1. Kids’ TV will be limited to 2 shows/day, with the exception of the 3-year-old who gets 1 more while the older ones are at school. That way everyone gets to watch their favorite.
2. New event: Family Game Night! Thursday nights after dinner.
3. I will limit my facebook time to twice a week. I really feel like any more than that is just wasting time.
4. I will limit my Pinterest time to 15 minutes at a stretch and only when children are sleeping (either nap or evenings). Pinterest is pure creative relaxation and eye candy for me, and it can definitely be a time suck.
5. I will only watch TV during the day when I’m folding laundry, and even then I will alternate between TV shows (there are a couple I record that my husband doesn’t care for so I watch them when he’s not around) and the Mormon Channel radio shows. Those things are awesome, if you’ve never listened to them. Gospel Solutions for Families is a favorite, along with Conversations.
6. My husband and I will have our own game nights twice a week.
7. When my husband and I sit down to watch TV, we will only watch if we decide on a show or shows together, and when it’s/they're over the TV goes off. Before we would often just have the TV on just to have it on and one of us would be watching something while the other one ignored it and surfed the internet.
So that’s the plan. My conclusions? A Fast From the World is a worthwhile endeavor. When you turn off the world, you start to remember what life is like without commercials and status updates and likes and shares and all that stuff. I don’t think our family was ever “that bad” with it, but there were definitely signs of addiction creeping in and sometimes you need to stop saying, “But I can stop whenever I want- I’m not addicted,” and actually DO IT! It helps you remember what’s really important and you get the chance to prove to yourself that no, you’re not a slave to worldly media. You are in control of you.
Anyone else think they’ll try their own Fast From the World at some point?