“Mom can I bring the tablet?” “No!” This is my standard response as we head out the door to the farm. It’s not going to kill any of us to have to talk to each other or sit quietly on the way. Maybe the ride would be more peaceful with the devices, but we miss out on so much when everyone is plugged in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure what I’d do without Google some days but I’d like to think that I’d survive.
Last week the kids were arguing while out of town. With nothing to distract them they had to work through their problem, come up with a solution, and execute the plan together. This particular problem was who would be riding the horse. My daughter, who is 7 years older, won. I didn’t step in and tell them to take turns. By letting it play out they both learned. Looking at her younger brother, my daughter, decided that his tears weren’t worth it. She rode for a while and then gave him a ride. My son had to be patient, trust that his sister would come back for him, and realize that sometimes life isn’t fair. Next time it will work out that he gets his way and she has to wait. Or maybe not, she might win next time too. That’s okay, they will both survive and hopefully come out ahead by having to figure it out for themselves.
Anytime that my kids complain that they are bored because they can’t use a device they get a great lesson in work. You’re bored? Come pull some weeds with me. Nothing to do? Grab a shovel and help unload the grain. She/he won’t play with you? There is the lawn mower. There is always something to do. Most of the time any mention of work and their brains start to function. All of a sudden taking a walk sounds like a good idea, the book that’s been forgotten is remembered, digging a random hole would be fun or maybe helping out is just what’s needed.
I’ve learned so much about my children and them about me while pulling weeds. It’s silent going for a while and all of a sudden the lack of chatter gets to them and they reveal some pretty amazing stuff. Likes and dislikes, friends and enemies, worries and hopes are all pored out when there is nothing to compete for attention. These times are some of the best.
Not all of our time at the farm is devoted to work. It rains, is windy, too hot, too cold, or maybe we’re just having a lazy day. With no electronics other than the TV, which has 5 channels, we have to make our own fun. And being that there is only one room in the cabin, we have to do it together. The best days this last winter were spent snuggling while watching a movie or playing card games. Spring has been a time for long walks and playing catch. Again, we are forced to talk to each other and it’s nice.
So much of our time is spent in front of a screen. Farm time is devoted to getting to know each other and ourselves. It’s spent learning how to verbally communicate, reading emotion, working through confrontation, and so much more. All things that are getting lost in our digital world. I’m very grateful for our time unplugged.