This last Wednesday evening, AT&T lost coverage of about a third of the country, including the Oklahoma and Illinois areas. Bria and I tried repeatedly to call each other, texting back and forth our frustrations with dropped calls. Since I was passing an AT&T store on my way to choir, I texted that I would stop to see if there was a problem with our account. The place was swarming with people with the same idea. About that time, Bria sent the outage map, and I shared the info with all who would listen.

    I eventually figured out a back door (turn airplane mode on for thirty seconds and then off to make calls), and Bria and I were able to successfully share the worries and triumphs of the day!

    You’d think we didn’t talk every day. If we were that disturbed by the breakdown of our communication channels, I can just imagine what those who urgently needed phone communication must have felt.

     This week my family will willingly unplug ourselves (somewhat) from technology by traveling to an isolated resort in the Ozark hills for Thanksgiving. I’m actually looking forward to the unplugging… mostly because I’m authoring what’s “unplugged.”

     Therein lies my thought for this week. “Plugging in” implies a choice on our parts.  When I was a kid, we did things just for the pure joy of it.  Kids today have pressure even in the activities they enjoy.  

    Wanna play soccer?  You need to be on a traveling team and give up all your evenings and weekends.  I mean, don’t you want to be a professional athlete?  Then you gotta work!

    Heck, kids even have pressure on their video games.  Until recently, I’ve been playing Candy Crush fairly anonymously.  Somehow my phone linked Candy Crush to my husband’s Facebook account.  Now I know how I have done at each level compared to all of our friends who play.  Talk about pressure.  If I know, then I’m sure they know, right?!  

.    As our children become increasingly “plugged in” to real life, it is important that you teach your child how to “unplug.” Daily your child should have at least thirty minutes of activity that is in no way dependent upon technology or a deadline or practice. Everybody needs something they do just for the joy of doing.  Even just sitting down and talking would be great. I think that’s why Bria and I were so desperate to talk. Even though we have to do it via technology due to distance, our “hashing out the day” is our unplugging activity.

     Here’s hoping you have a Thanksgiving full of unplugged activities… on your terms, of course!!