Very few things send shivers up and down my spine. A Campout is one of those things. So when the dads in my daughter’s school decided to organize a yearly “Dads and Daughter campout”, I was not thrilled. Of course, being a good dad and not wanting my child to miss out, I signed up. Yay…
Then the second email came through: No technology allowed on the campout! Seriously. WTF. This is 2017, what would 11 year-olds do without their iPads, iPhone, Youtube and Slime Instagram videos? But I didn’t say anything. I smiled and waved and agreed to still go through with the insanity…this is what we got up to:
After we settled into our rooms and unloaded the mountain of food that we brought with, we noticed that the kids disappeared. No. Not to their room but the kids began playing. Outside. Where the grass and trees grow. They kicked a ball, lay on the hammock, and the closest to any technology they got was singing songs from their favorite YouTubers.
Even the Dads, occasionally glanced at their phones but mostly had eye-to-eye conversations. No one was looking at the top of anyone’s head while they were texting and the only Googling that happened was to settle important bets such as “at what temperature will this bottle melt if we throw it into the fire?” and “who was the famous actor who did that thing with whats-her-name?”
They kids helped around the campsite, went fishing, fed the local horses and no phones charges were used at any time.
I learned these 5 things after my non-tech weekend:
- We are not tied to our technology as much as we think we are.
- It’s ok to switch off. The world continued to spin on its axis.
- Kids are kids- they found ways to entertain themselves like we did when were their age. A stick, a ball, a campfire with smores is all one really needs.
- The non-communication-anxiety only raised its head when I couldn’t make a call to ensure my wife and other child were ok back in Dallas. No signal.
- Just like kids, adults need to put ourselves in tech-time-out and just leave the phone in another room. It will be ok.