The Disconnected Dad: Disengaging to Engage
Hey guys! I’m Seth Dahl. I am a husband, father of three young children, and a pastor at a large church. And if you didn’t already know, I’m on the journey to becoming The Disconnected Dad. In a nutshell, I set apart 30 days without internet to log the effects it would have on connection with my family, then share it with you in the form of a podcast. The Disconnected Dad podcast is available to download on iTunes.
Last episode, I told you the in's and out's of my first three days as The Disconnected Dad, with no internet at home or with my family. I noticed most of all, increased patience and impactful moments as my attention was no longer divided. I did feel some temptation to reach for social media especially around day 3.
Now, I’m ready to share with you my results after day 6! My days seem to have doubled without the internet, and it has definitely gotten easier. I no longer feel FOMO (fear of missing out) about not knowing what’s going on in the world outside my home, because I’d rather be fully present with the people I’m with. I have to say, this has become a very enjoyable process. I kinda like having the option of being unreachable to the outside world.
These past few days, I realized the authority this disconnection is building in me. If I want to have authority in my boundaries with my children and the internet, I need to have boundaries of my own. If I want to be able to say, “No phones at the dinner table.” then I'd better not have my own phone out! The way I use the internet is the way I must allow my children to use it. Otherwise, my parenting says, “Follow what I say, not what I do.” And we all know - that type of parenting simply doesn’t work.
The simplicity factor is ever-increasing as well. As I said last time, I felt like I was able to give my undivided attention to people or activities, such as reading a book. It’s even more evident to me now, the relief of not multi-tasking. Many people keep a lot of tabs open on their web browser, and several apps open on their smartphones, myself included. This is typically a good indicator of the amount of things going on in our minds. It’s been so nice to not have to switch back and forth between interaction and checking what’s happening on my phone. I didn’t even realize how much I attempted to multi-task until I stopped. As we know, men typically aren’t as good at multitasking, so I must be noticably more present now that it’s stopped.
By Day 5, remarkably, I felt like I was a better representation of God to my family. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” God is ever present, not sometimes present. When I wasn’t dividing my attention between my family and the rest of the world, I felt like I was able to be ever present when my family needed me, without distraction or delay.
Additionally, In Episode 2 I talked about how I implemented something new called “Yes Day” with my kids. One full day where I say yes to everything they want to do (within reason), and I feature a special guest! We hear from someone who has been impacted firsthand by The Disconnected Dad experiment. She let's us know if this is working or not. Make sure you tune in to hear my wife Lauren’s take on the journey so far, plus some more details.
The Disconnected Dad Podcast is available for download on iTunes. While you’re there, make sure to subscribe, rate, and review!