I was raised kind of Amish.
Well, not really. My family liked electricity and our rotary phone.
But my parents thought the Amish were the bomb dot com, and decided to live counter-culturally and pattern our lives after the Plain People as much as they could.
The results were a mixed bag. You can imagine how awkward this was when we tried to interact with normal people.
But the positive side is that we kids learned some good skills and habits, like a great work ethic and the disciplines of silence and solitude.
As for technology, we didn’t know how to reboot a computer, much less how to get online. On one hand, again, this was a major handicap when we joined the modern world. On the other, we knew—and still do—that we didn’t need the internet to be happy.
Several years ago I saw a blog challenge to unplug for 24 hours. This gave the person issuing the challenge a lot of anxiety. She was asking herself, “Can I really do this?” A lot of her readers echoed her anxiety.
At the time, I just laughed. Seriously? We had gotten to the point that living for 24 hours without the internet was almost unthinkable?
While I still think my unconventional upbringing gave me an edge in my ability to disengage from technology, it’s much smaller than it used to be. The more I’m online, the more I want to be, and the more restless I am when the internet is not available.
I also see how the internet sucks in my kids. Even though we have some strict limits on what and how much they are allowed to access online, it feels like fighting a three-headed dragon with a dagger.
So what’s going on?
This week, Michael Hyatt hosted a podcast called “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (And What We Can Do About It).” In the podcast, he summarized a Newsweek article called, “Tweets, Texts, E-mail and Posts: Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy?” Turns out, the internet is doing a lot of damage, especially to our kids. Michael then shared his thoughts and ideas for how to harness the positive power of the internet, while guarding against its negative impact.
Michael outlined five disciplines that can help us avoid the crazy-making of the internet: rest, reflection, reading, recreation, and relationships.
At first glance, this might seem like a common sense list, but do we actually make room for them in our lives?
I’m not against technology. In fact, growing up without it gave me an incredible appreciation for the opportunities of the internet. But along with Michael and the authors of the Newsweek article, I fear that it’s horning in on our lives so pervasively that it’s causing us and our families a lot of harm.
Anyone who lives in the modern world is impacted by the addictive power of the internet.
How is it affecting you as a mom? How is it affecting your marriage? Your children?
Go listen to the podcast. It gave me a fresh determination to keep the internet in its place and to, as Jeff Goins says, “live a life worth writing.” What good is all this information if it doesn’t stem from something real?
On Wednesdays from August through December, I am going to focus on one of Michael’s five disciplines on my blog (and in my life). Each week, I will issue a simple challenge related to the current discipline as it relates to family and mothering.
First up: Rest.
Come back on August 1 for the first challenge.
Let’s tame this monster and take back control! The sanity of our families is at stake!