Sticks and a Tree: Defeating the Media Beast (Living Without Media)


A few weeks ago, our family took to the road for our sophomore excursion in our travel trailer, and once again, nature did not disappoint. This was our second time out in the RV before taking off on our journey across America. We took time to become acquainted with our new rig as well as learn the process of RVing before taking off. It also gave us a great opportunity to practice living without media.

Taking off to live without media

Setting Up & Tearing Down

The set up and tear down alone are a complicated dance. Done right and we’re flowing with grace. Done wrong—and we’ve done so wrong a few times—and we are tripping around, stepping on each other’s toes the whole time. Not pretty. Our first trip out included a complicated set up and tear down and lasted several hours each.

But on our second voyage, we were getting our processes down. Chris and I were gaining confidence and know-how. The kids were helping and learning. Even Leila, our dog, was settling in.

Detoxing from Media

If you know about our journey so far, you already know that one of our reasons for embarking on this journey is to detox our family from overwhelming media. We’ll never be completely unplugged, nor would we want to be. But we do recognize the need to put the screens that are commandeering our kids’ (and our) attention in their proper place.

That week proved we were on the right track.

At the beginning of the week we told the kids it was a screen-free vacation. After our first outing they must have realized it was a lost cause because I never heard a grumble or witnessed an exaggerated (or internal) eye roll. All three just accepted the inevitable and moved on.

Living Without Media

Living Without Media…and With Nature

Then a marvelous thing happened… they began to entertain themselves with… wait for it… NATURE. (There’s fanfare roaring in my ears right now. Can you hear it? YES!)

When we arrived at our site, we discovered a huge live oak tree with large, climb-worthy branches close to the ground. Up they went. They climbed and challenged each other to climb a little higher. They created elaborate fantasies where they defeated invisible enemies and battled each other. They also retrieved two bamboo sticks that they had hidden on our previous visit. The sticks became swords. Enemies were vanquished. Hours passed. Fun was had by all.

Chris and I looked at each other and smiled. Was it possible? Could something captivate our children more than the Xbox, more than an iPad, more than an iPhone, more than Netflix, more than… you get the idea!

Just the Beginning

Our journey is just beginning. We have lots of miles to go and lots of screens to avoid, but we’ll hold on to the small victories. But that week, the victory included three kids, sticks and a tree. It was a win, and any parent fighting this same battle knows, we’ll take any win we can get.

We pulled out a few weeks ago, and we look forward to more wins on the horizon—one stick, one tree at a time.

  1. Joel says

    What a great reminder. These little screens have a way of capturing our attention like nothing else. I love what technology has given me but I love more what it has not.

    1. Christopher says

      Great way to say it, Joel!!

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