Yup. Sugar packets. My kids found themselves a little bit bored and restless upon a recent trip to a restaurant that involved dad in a business conversation with an associate during dinner. Nothing like a bit of ennui to trigger some creativity from nothing. Knowing full well that there was an iPad and an iPhone for their use nearby if things got really bad, they decided to team up and have a building contest to see who could build the best structure with the pastel colored packets that come handily at each table.
They knew from the get go that dad would be meeting during our family meal, and complained loudly about their mutual dislike of the situation. They also had obvious distaste for having to not only sit next to one another, but to have to share the booth with their dad as well. That translates into having to sit very close to each other. Almost touching each other. Quelle horreur!
After a fair amount of mumbling and grumbling and realizing that there was not much that they could do to change the scenario, they finally figured out that they should just make the best of it. And make the best of it they did. I loved watching them play off and with each other to amuse themselves and make the best of things, especially when they were relying on their imagination instead of with their noses stuck into the usual electronic accoutrements.
I am not a complete nazi when it comes to electronic devices, but as a general rule they are not acceptable at the table during a meal, particularly if you are sharing a meal with relatives and/or friends. But, if it seems to be taking a long time, or if they are not being particularly disruptive, I don't mind them biding their time electronically, within limits.
It is awfully hard not to get caught up in the electronic world that we live in. I found it pretty believable when I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard that social networking sites like twitter and facebook are actually more addictive than alcohol. The rationalization being: it's relatively low cost, it's extremely accessible, and in the grand scheme of doing things doesn't appear as harmful as most other addictive behaviors. I'm not sure how factual that info was, but I'd believe it.
I admit I have an addiction to my e-world. I trawl my e-mail and facebook repeatedly throughout the day when I am home. I was extremely reluctant to get smart phone (my hubby gave me his recently) because I knew it would be very easy to get caught up in checking my phone whenever I heard that little chime that let me know I had some little tidbit of new information waiting for me. I think I've been pretty good about not being attached to it like an umbilical cord. But the thought of it becoming too obsessive does scare me a bit.
Being Catholic and in the lenten season, I thought about trying to give up facebooking for lent, but I'm not sure that I would have made it. I'd have some serious withdrawal without it. I know it is really good for your soul to unplug every now and then, but 6 plus weeks would be awfully hard for me to swallow. I know it is good to have balance though, and I've been attempting to at least scale back, and have been trying to read more in the absence of electronic stimulation. Oddly enough though, I've been using my kindle, my handy e-reader to do so. Funny that even trying to get away from the digital world, even still has me plugged into it.
I'd like to think that as the weather gets warmer, that I'll be more likely to be out and about and enjoying more of the outdoors. I know that connecting with the outdoors is one of the best ways for me to spark some creativity, something that I've very much been enjoying tapping into of late. And I must say, I really love watching my kids get into using their noggins to find their own fun, too when I pull the plug on them.
So I guess here's to being a bit more mindful of my e-world, and realizing that as awesome as it can be, it's also pretty awesome to step away from it every now and then. So I better get myself unplugged, and finish up that book I've been reading...