Silos and Bubbles

Moose and squirrel.

Moose and squirrel.

There is an old saying that goes like this:

“When the entire family clan piles into the van, the driving is done by the man.”

I actually just made that up a few minutes ago but the point is when we all go somewhere together in the van, I drive. I prefer to drive because I’m a terrible passenger but it has allowed me to notice things like stop lights, other vehicles, and the tech driven silos that exist in our van. Maybe a better term would be bubbles, but what is for sure is that everyone turns to some kind of technology once they get settled in. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but this seems like a  great time for all of us to talk, but instead we’re all in one of three silos/bubbles:

1. “The Kid Zone” – Cue the Twilight Zone music, because lots of things happen in this nether region. There is talking, screaming, singing, laughing, crying, reading, indiscriminate eating (kids must think it’s a land fill because all of the food remains on hte floor), and also watching going on back there. The watching I’m talking about is of DVDs. Liberty’s Kids is currently in heavy rotation, but past favorites include Cars, National Geographic, and Rocky and Bullwinkle. When a show is on, they can’t see or hear anything else. As a sidebar, I may suffer from Stockholm syndrome, because I can get pulled into the kid zone and find myself enjoying what they are watching – that moose and squirrel do make me laugh.

2. “Shotgun” – This is where my wife sits while I drive and she engages her iPhone. She’s a busy SAHM, home school teacher and blogger. When she is not slapping together lunch, she is finishing a lesson plan or tweeting about a deal while the kids pepper her with questions about rockets and American Girl dolls. Riding shotgun gives her a place to sit, gather her thoughts, catch up and get a moment of peace.

3. “The Island” – This is where the driver goes about his business of navigation, alone with his thoughts. If the kids are watching a DVD, then I can’t use the radio. If Kelly is on her device, then I’m left with myself to talk to. Until recently, I suffered in silence. Then it dawned on me: pod casts. What a great idea!

Except it wasn’t.

Now we’re all  in tech silos and filling our time, but still, nobody is talking. I fully expect this to happen when the kids get older and I slide into perpetual state of un-coolness in their eyes, but the thing is my kids still like me. I’m taking the easy road by sticking them in front of a DVD. Also, I want to talk to my wife.

So what do I do about it? Here are some things tried and untried:

  • DVD Blackout – unless we are on a long drive (over an hour) we’re going to turn off the DVD player
  • Within Reach – Every so often, I extend my right arm back towards the kids. My daughter will hold my hand for a minute and then my son will put his foot in my hand for a bit. It keeps us connected.
  • Gulp……Turn Off the Radio and Talk to My Kids About Their Day – my son can take a while to land the plane and my daughter will counter my one question with four of her own, but I enjoy this time and like to hear what’s on their minds.
  • Double Gulp……Ask My Wife About Her Day and What is on Her Mind – Caution Men: you can get more than you bargained for, so tread lightly. The upside – and it’s a big upside – is that you will be surprised by how well things will go in your home when you communicate with your wife on a regular basis. Windshield time is the perfect time to talk, ask questions, dream, set goals and make plans for the future. I’d bet that some the best things we ever thought of happened on windshield time.

It is hard to keep technology (and other things) from controlling every bit of  our lives, and I enjoy what it affords us, but I also think it’s better for us all if we can get off the grid. We need time to put down the phone and iPad for a little while and be aware of how much of our time is being sucked away. High on my list of priorities in life is to enjoy the company of my family. Why not do that in person?



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1 Comment

  1. Well said babe, well said!


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