Sample Work

Screen-Free Faith and Fun

child-1864718_1920Published May 2018: The Messenger

Screen-Free Faith and Fun

While it makes me feel just a little bit old when I think or talk about the good ‘ole days before the Internet, computers, iPads or cell phones, I do have so many memories that included quality time with my family, my sisters and my cousins.

The dinner table was for just that – dinner. It didn’t include any of us checking text messages or scrolling through social media. Times have changed, though, and my children were born into an era that consisted of emerging technologies. Technology has transformed and simplified how we work and how we live, and for that I’m grateful. I’m able to look up some of my favorite Bible passages just by calling out for Alexa or Siri. I’m able to read inspirational articles without having to go to the bookstore or the library.

However, there are times when the screens take over and consume our children. It’s even more difficult to parent or plan quality time with the kids when you’re competing with screens and technology. I miss the days when my children sat down and played board games or cards with me without feeling the need to look at their phones, afraid they might miss an important social update or text message. I miss the days when a ringing cell phone during Mass was non-existent.

All of these thoughts about limiting screen-time came to a head last year when I got the chance to write a book about 400 ways to spend quality time with your family without technology. The process was challenging, but much more enjoyable than I anticipated. I enlisted the help of my children and my family to help me brainstorm. And much to my surprise, the kids were able to rattle off many activities that they remember from their childhood. “Mom, do you remember when we used to dig for dinosaurs in the backyard?” “Mom, do you remember how we used to host jump rope and hula-hoop contests?”

The memories came flooding back for both me and my children as I vigorously wrote down ideas and then ultimately, turned the ideas into a book, Screen-Free Fun, that was released April 3 of this year.

I’ve always wanted to write a book, but having the opportunity to write a book with feedback and input from my children is something I will never forget. And, the entire process took place without technology overriding our quality time.

  • Shannon Philpott-Sanders

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