When I was a kid, we would go camping in the mountains for our vacation. I remember watching the clouds floating in the sky. At night my dad and I would take our flashlights and go hunting for that perfect place between the tall trees where we could see all those millions of stars. I was intrigued as I watched my older brother catch fish with his bow and arrow. My dad would take us kids upstream, jumping from rock to rock until we found a ledge where we could jump into the fresh water.
Those were relaxing, awe-inspiring days.
Back then, there was no such thing as Internet or iPad. The technology at that time was not very portable. We didn’t even consider bringing our radios or television. Being in the outdoors was a time to explore and be out in the beautiful world.
One year we decided to go camping with a lot of other families. One family brought a radio and played it the whole time!
Hey, what happened to the sounds of silence? We would take a hike where we could get away from the noise. We were surprised at how far sound carries in those echoing mountains.
Today, we have all the riches of modern civilization where the cabin gets a strong cellphone signal with data and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Our quiet little haven is no more. Instead of spending evenings trying to find the North Star amid the millions of stars, we spend time browsing the Internet. Rather than long evenings playing Monopoly or Scrabble, we check our Twitter feed and update our Facebook pages.
Unless we have lots of self-control or strong negative consequences, it’s easy to find ourselves adrift in a sea of useless information.
Are we lost?
Have we given up our most precious gifts of thriving heart-to-heart relationships?
What happened to those pre-modern forms of entertainment like swimming, kayaking, chili cookoffs and card games?
Don’t tell me that our path to paradise has been sabotaged with the iPad peeking out from under our sleeping bag, begging for us to check our email. Our eyes are drawn to the light of our cell phones rather than the light of the stars.
We’ve been warned that television or any screen time is reducing the amount of time we spend with our families in social interactions. Research has also found that people who unplug their email get more work done — with less stress.
Is technology isolating us rather than connecting us? Is it keeping us from truly having vacation time?
It’s true that I love having the world of information at my fingertips, but there must be a way not to lose touch with the vast amount of beauty surrounding us. This magnificence can be found in the face of a family member who is expressing appreciation and love. It can also be discovered in pondering a profound silence or finding fascination in the life of a grasshopper in our backyard.
What will happen if you don’t have a solution to the “I’m bored!” problem for your kids? What will happen when the tantrums stop, and your child sits down next to you to gaze at the sunset?
Unplug! I dare you! Drop the technology every once in a while. Discover a new hiking trail and renew the most precious relationships inside your own family.
Before you do, check out a new recipe for homemade peach pie on Google. Then plan a day to pick some fresh peaches off a real-live tree with a favorite person. Enjoy the pleasant, earthy experience!
I want to hear how you made your vacation into a moment you will remember for a lifetime — from scratch.