Screen Sabbath


September 2, 2012 by Leah

On one night during each of the past three weeks, Aaron and I have turned off all our devices (phones, tablets, laptop) and piled them somewhere. We turn off the wifi. Then, when we wake up the next day, we remind each other that it’s our electronics sabbath day, because otherwise we forget. We don’t send or receive texts, we don’t Google random facts, and we don’t waste hours on Facebook, fantasy baseball, or internet shopping-but-not-buying. We don’t watch TV or play video games. Instead, we go out for breakfast and look at and talk to each other. Or we go shopping, or to the fair. Or we play board games. Or read books. Or sew, or work out. Get stuff done around the house. Hang out on the floor with Elias. Clean up dog vomit. Whatever.

Reading on devices is kind of a gray area. Initially I said it should be allowed (I’m the one with the Kindle Fire, after all), but I haven’t actually done it. Aaron read some Dickens on his iPad with breakfast yesterday. I believe his refrain was, “But it’s Dickens!” (Gotta love the public domain.)

It’s not a perfect system. On our second week, we forgot, so we moved our day to Sunday, but then we had to put in a 10-minute allowance to organize a fantasy baseball team for the upcoming week. Yesterday, I did use my phone to take a picture of my shopping list before I tried to go to the farmer’s market and ended up at the grocery store (freaking parades), and since I had the phone, Aaron sent me a text requesting deodorant, which was terribly efficient and therefore not an egregious overstep. But, when I think of things I want to look up, I make a note on our whiteboards in the kitchen (same place we keep the running shopping list, actually – I highly recommend kitchen whiteboards). Or, and this was great, yesterday I fished out a phone book. (We do have and use a land line, which is what we rely on during electronics sabbath days.)

The nicest part about these sabbath days, other than quality family time, is that they really feel like a day of rest. I actually sat down on the couch last night with a glass of wine and a book to finish and didn’t feel guilty about not practicing or doing a project, which is kind of unheard of. One caveat: such a relaxed outlook can lead to a third glass of wine, because “the baby never wakes up in the evening after he’s in bed.” Yeah. Let’s just say there’s a reason we have a freezer stash of pumped milk.


2 thoughts on “Screen Sabbath

  1. […] choice to commit to family and friends by taking one day each week away from your screen? The “screen-free sabbath” movement advocates putting all screens aside for one day a week. It’s not only a great way of […]

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