Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bringing Families Together with Popcorn, Chocolate...and Laughter

Hi Everyone,

Like many families in America today, mine has become slaves to technology. Cell phones, tablets, computers, laptops, Nintendo, Wii, and Wii U. We don't have everything, or as much as some do; but we definitely have more than our fair share and certainly more than we really need. I will admit too, that I am the biggest user of the abundance of technology we have in my house. My cell phone and tablet are never out of reach. They keep me entertained through TV, movies, games and more. They keep me informed through news podcasts, and web articles. They allow me to know bank balances and credit card information at a moment's notice. They keep me connected through social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don't get me wrong, I believe technology has greatly improved much about society, our relationships with one another and has probably also done a great deal to feed what has now become an insatiable curiosity about everything from politics and world events to recipes and parenting advice.
However, it is not lost on me that the technology that beckons me toward this need for constant and instant gratification also pulls me away from my family. It pulls many families away from each other and we often don't even realize it. Sometimes we do for a moment; and then the moment passes because someone sends a text or a notification lights up our screen and instantly that person or that notification becomes more important than the person sitting beside us.
Every day I realize my children are speeding through this process called life and the opportunities to spend time together as a family are dwindling at an exponential rate. We are not a family that vacations often, or goes out and does grandiose things together. Like most families we are bound by the ebbs and flows of the economy. That is not to say we don't find ways to spend quality time together. We do, and we do because we make family time part of our routine, part of our daily schedule. Life is busy with school, homework, sports, and other activities. Still, we eat dinner together as much as possible and then without fail on Friday nights we have Family Movie Night!
Friday Night Family Movie Night has had a lot of starts and stops over the years; but since we moved into our new house in July, we have done it every week.  Sometimes we buy an On Demand movie, or a Redbox movie. Sometimes we find something on Netflix and sometimes we watch something we've already seen a hundred times together. It's never really about what we watch, although the entertainment factor is definitely important! No, rather, it is about the fact that for that two hours there are no brightly pixelated screens lighting up the room. There are no other people in the outside world more important than the one sitting right next to you. It is about the fact that for that two hours, popcorn, chocolate and laughter brings a family together.

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