Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to Have a Media Fast

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(Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Why?

In a world in which we are bombarded by technology at every turn, it's essential that we take a break from it every now and then, not because it is bad but because of its consuming, demanding nature. It so easily fills our thoughts, time, and days which can lead to an addiction.

In my opinion, anything apart from God that demands our unwavering attention, even something as important as family, must be set aside at times for the purpose of soul refreshment - spirit and mind renewal. Believe me, that daily hour of rest time, especially when my kids were younger, is extremely important for my sanity!

I can really relate to what Solomon said when he rightly observed that our eyes and ears are never satisfied. Technology, specifically media entertainment, whether it's TV, radio, internet, etc. provides our eyes and ears with that fleshly satisfaction. Before long, idols erect and begin to drown out God's voice. Even "good" things like Christian music and wholesome entertainment can be an easy way to let our minds drift along in a lazy haze. Sometimes what we really need is to hear what God Himself has to say instead of hearing what others have to say about God.

That takes work. It's work to think for yourself, and the temptation to be lazy often wins.

Really, taking time away from anything that has captivated our flesh, not just technology or media, forces us to discipline our minds to think about other things and may even help us to become contributors instead of consumers.

Recently, our own family decided to fast from media for 7 days. We were inspired by the fabulous documentary, Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture, which I highly recommend! I don't think anyone in our family is a true addict or anything, but breaks are good for the soul. So, based on our own family's experience, I will share how to have a successful family media fast.

How?

  1. Determine when you will have a media fast. Whether it's for a day or a week, set a time that is convenient for your family and really try to stick to it. (Don't expect your kids to cheer and be super excited or anything!) My husband is the one who chose the time and the duration of our fast for our family.
  2. Determine the details of the fast. Make a clear list of what your family is fasting from and make sure everyone understands what is and isn't acceptable during the media fast. Here's an example from our family's fast: No music (unless making your own or practicing for Sunday's worship leading), No social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc., No mindless internet browsing (computer could be used for school), No games on the computer, phone, tablets, or X-Box, No TV, No watching YouTube videos (but kids could make and upload their own), and stuff like that. Our kids could use the computer for school, and my hubby and I could use it for work related stuff.
  3. Brainstorm ideas of what you can do during the fast. Suggestions: read books, play board games, take time to journal thoughts, spend extra time reading Scripture, do extra chores, clean out closets, make crafts, cook together, enjoy nature, etc. For us, this was NOT a time in which we as parents were going to provide non-stop alternative entertainment.
  4. Discuss the importance of why your family is choosing to fast from media. We wanted our kids to understand that media isn't bad in and of itself, but that taking a break is important for all of the above reasons I mentioned earlier and more. Your reasons may be different from ours.
  5. Don't be legalistic. I'm not saying to let your guard down or to make exceptions to your fast, but something may come up that is beyond your control. For example, if the Sunday School teacher plays a Veggie Tales video during class, you don't have to make your child stand in a corner with his face to the wall, ya know. (My daughter really did ask me this what-if question.) Also, I always leave my car radio on Air 1, and I totally forgot to turn it off - didn't even really realize it was on until my daughter sucked in a breath the size of Alaska and shouted, "Mommy, the radio!" I was like, Oops, turned it off and moved on. No big deal.
  6. Enjoy the fast. Don't be all doom and gloom! Be productive. Do things you don't normally have time to do. :D
Have you ever had a family media fast? Not sure if you want to? Well, if you'd like to see what we did during our media fast and what my kids thought about it, you can click my post, What We Did During Our Media Fast.

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1 comment:

Kourtney Ragland said...

This is what I need to do. Sadly I am so attached to my social media.

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