A Day Without Phones or Tablets:

The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was shining, and not a cloud in the sky. A gentle breeze blew softly over the shimmering lake, located just an hour’s or so drive north of our home. It was a balmy 70 or 75 degrees in the mid-morning hours of that Monday morning, as we set up our blanket and meager snacks. We had packed lightly, because we were there to relax. Nothing fancy or stress involved. Just me, my husband, and our five sweet children–ready for a much-needed day to relax and “unplug”–with no tablets or technical distractionsand as an added bonus: we pretty much had the whole shore to ourselves.

Originally, we had planned to camp there for the week–or for at least four or five days. The summer was rapidly waning, and not surprisingly, our funds had begun running low, so our ambitious camping trip to the lake became just a day at the lake…on a Monday. When fewer people would be there.

Although it was breezy and only slightly warm at 10:30 in the morning, the kids lost no time in heading for the water to test it out. It was a little chilly, but not too much. I stretched out on our large picnic blanket for a few hours of pure, honest-to-goodness contentment. There would not be many more days like this– if any. It was one of those “grab-it-while-you-can” moments. Ironically, my phone had not charged at all the previous night–which would have had me in a tizzy on any normal day–but although I had managed to get it to charge to a meager seventeen percent or so, I wasn’t worried or concerned.

Yes….no worries, no phone, and no schedule. It wasn’t the Bahamas or Hawaii; but it was peaceful.

“Unplugging” is a Necessity:

Why is it that we need that peacefulness; that “get-away”; or the need to disconnect from the “outside world” and “unplug”? In a time when everyone has to be “plugged-into” something, how quickly we have forgotten–or at least have taken for granted–life’s simpler pleasures. Simpler pleasures that meant you didn’t have to check your email or Facebook feed every five to ten minutes. It was a time–not so long ago, even– I remember Mom saying to me as a child: “You can go outside and play after you clean your room…” and not having to coax us out there, or to compete for our attention with a video game or the computer.

Video games? Computers? Wow. I don’t remember video games even existing in the seventies; and the computers of yesteryear were these large, box-like things that existed in government buildings. Okay. Let’s be honest. I’m sure my mom had to compete with the television. The television was touted back then as the Root of All Evil; but hey, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street” were part of our childhood routine…like…breakfast and school. 

Childhood Memories:

True, the t.v. was fun and entertaining, but we loved playing outside. We loved making mud pies out of the magnolia tree leaves from our back yard; swinging on the swing-set until the posts popped out of the ground; and swimming in circles in our small, plastic pool with Kelly, our loyal and protective German Shepherd. There was always an endless array of things to do outside–the only limit was our imagination–playing tag and hide and seek; and especially–learning how to roller skate. That was the ultimate challenge–at least at the age of seven. My dad had stretched a rope along our long driveway for me to hold onto, but I think I still spent more time on the ground than upright on those skates. And, of course, in those days we didn’t bother to wear protective equipment like knee-pads and a helmet…resulting in many a skinned knee.

“COME BACK!!!”

I was awoken from my dreamy reverie by our seven year-old son yelling out in the water’s direction from the shore–at the top of his lungs…

Alarmed, I scanned the water for the reason. Were everyone’s heads above water? Everyone okay? Okay, good. Sigh of relief.

Then… What the heck? What’s all the fuss about?

Two of the kids–the eldest–our 23 year-old daughter–and our 10 year-old son–had swum out and parked themselves onto the floating dock about twenty or thirty yards from shore…and, grinning back at the rest of us–had decided to stay there…for the time being.

NEVER!!!”   Came the adamant response from the dock. Frustrated by the lack of compliance, my youngest retorted back: Weirdo!”

I chuckled at their relaxed, but resolute insistence, and thought to myself: Nicely done; way to get away from everyone for a bit…

Now they have the right idea…

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