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November 2014
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Doubling Down on Family Time

We are a family of introverts and we live in a house which has more options for screens than there are people in the house. This means that unless we exert ourselves, the pattern is for all of us to scatter in separate rooms of the house and focus on screens. This is fine as part of what we do, but when it becomes the majority of what we do, that leads to us all feeling disconnected from each other. In the past couple of months all the kids have noticed the pattern and expressed desire for more togetherness.

When Howard and I discussed our Christmas spending plans, we took this need for increased togetherness into account. We also realized that we needed to break one of the cardinal traditions of Christmas. Instead of saving up all the shiny things so they can be revealed on the big day, we needed to break them out at Thanksgiving so that we can spend the entire month of December using them to draw us together. It would be a shame to only have a week to enjoy them with Kiki before she heads back to school when we could have three weeks.

Considering the challenge I described earlier, it would seem that banishing electronics would be the call to make. Instead we bought more, a game system and an upgraded computer. But the important thing is that these new things draw us all into the same room. We’re interacting and talking with each other about the games we are playing. We’re all trying to be conscious about spending time together. To be honest, it is a little exhausting. None of us are used to it and there has been more than one squabble. Feelings have gotten bruised here and there. But I think the shifts will be good for us. We’ll find the right balance between doing our own things and coming together as a family.

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