I highly value having a healthy, thriving family. I don’t want to be doing well everywhere else in my life but not at home. My wife, Lauren, and I are very intentional in our parenting and in our home. I’m always looking for ways to grow as a husband and father, and one day a while back, a friend of mine gave me a radical idea to try.
My friend said he saw a picture of me and my family at a beach house with a sign on the door that said “no wifi.” I was thinking about how nice a beach vacation would be, and that sparked me to think about this: if I turned off my wifi at home, would my home feel like a vacation?
Now, I love technology, social media, the internet, and use them all the time for work and my personal life. I wasn’t interested in getting rid of them altogether. Our parents live in other states, so I wasn’t about to cut out letting them Facetime their grandbabies! I was thinking of all the practical things: what if someone in our family needs to get ahold of us, or there’s an emergency. Still, I couldn’t get the idea of no wifi at home out of my mind.
I sat down with Lauren and talked the idea over with her. Her natural bent is to be just fine without any devices at all, so she was totally on board for me to learn how to use technology in a healthier way. I decided to do 30 days of no wifi at home as an experiment. In this 30 days, I would still use wifi at work or when I’m out of the house, but not at home or when I’m with my family.
You might be surprised what you can learn in one day from this kind of challenge. What I noticed right out of the gate is there were times I tended to use social media to minimize true intimacy with my family. For example, there were times when things weren’t going so hot—the kids were fighting and arguing, stuff like that. I discovered I had a tendency to go to my phone in those moments. I found myself actually reaching in my pocket to grab my phone, but there was nothing to do on my phone to check out of the situation. Now that it wasn’t available, I didn’t have a choice to minimize or avoid true intimacy. I actually had to engage. This is exactly what I wanted! It freed me up to step in and give my children the guidance they needed in that moment. I was able to keep my voice calm and respond rather than react.
I learned this and so much more from the 30 days without wifi, but one thing that stood out to me was how investing in changing some of my habits with technology have paid off with my family in the long run, even after the challenge was over. When we take the time to grow and change, it does take some effort at first, but we and our families reap the benefits in the future.
Have you thought through and created a technology plan, or do you just wing it? Are there any new habits you want to try this summer to prioritize connection with your family?
Just a reminder, if you’re looking to grow as a parent and want to discover helpful tips to create a thriving home this summer, Lauren and I are offering a FREE Starter Parenting E-Course! It has 7 quick videos full of inspiration and practical tips you can go through at your own pace. Sign up here!