He did it. My son, Connor, managed to have a great time without video games, movies or TV during our time in Durango.
I’m a little surprised. Not that I was expected him to have a complete meltdown without electronics. But I was anticipating some whining and protests.
After all, this is an 11-year-old kid who can’t go even a few hours without electronics at home in Dallas.
We had a couple of incidents, that’s all. When we arrived in Durango after a two-day, 900-mile drive, we were both exhausted. Over dinner, Connor asked if we could go to a movie – “just to chill out” – before we checked into our cabin.
An understandable request. At first, I said yes. But moments later, I reversed myself.
“Nope,” I said. “We said it was going to be an electronics-free vacation. We’re going to stick to that.”
Connor glared at me. I could see the anger forming in his face. I was expecting a tsunami of bitter words. Instead, he silently got up from the table and walked to the restaurant entrance. There, he sat for 10 minutes, obviously unhappy, while I finished eating and paid the bill.
On the way to the car, neither of us said anything. Then we had more silence on the drive to the cabin.
“I’m sorry,” Connor finally said.
“It’s OK,” I replied. “Thanks for saying that.”
That was the extent of our exchange. He had tested the no-electronics policy. I had held firm. We could carry on.
A second incident happened at the end of our vacation on the drive home.
“Can I play with my phone?” he asked.
I had brought his phone as a safety precaution – in case we somehow got separated and he needed to call me. Connor has loaded a bunch of games onto the phone, and he likes to play them.
“Nope,” I said. “You’ve gone this long. You can make it.”
Two small incidents – I can handle that. During our activity in Colorado, Connor didn’t issue a single challenge to the no-electronics edict. Instead, he threw himself into the outdoor adventures: whitewater rafting, zip lining and a mountain tour in an open-air vehicle.
He used the word “awesome” more times than I can count. Repeatedly, he commented on the beauty of the surroundings: tall mountains, thick woods, and shimmering lakes and streams.
“It’s almost like a painting,” Connor said once.
The kid has a way with words.
On our last day in Colorado, he said he wanted to come back next summer – and every summer after that. Hooray!
Don’t get me wrong. Connor isn’t “cured” from his attraction to video games and other electronics. But I think he proved he isn’t addicted.
That’s an enormous relief to me – and, I think, a surprise to him.
Has anyone else tried a similar experiment? I’d be curious to know how it went.
To hear how the trip went day by day, read all of the articles:
- A vacation without video games or TV? Wish me luck
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #1: A Good Start
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #2: “I’m having a great time”
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #3: The whitewater rafting adventure
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #4: The highlight of the trip
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #5: A new discovery