On the last of school, my mild mannered son threw a teen sized tantrum over the Playstation 3 breaking. Then one of my other son's posted this on Facebook: "My call of duty is to play as much COD as possible this summer."
I wondered just what kind of summer we were in for.
Then the next day, the first official day of summer break, we left for a long vacation. There were no video games, no internet, no mobile phone service, no friends, obligations, homework, deadlines, 16 games to attend in a weekend, video game thumb, carpal tunnel or strained eyes. Translation: no stress.
Here is what the boys looked like sans technology and cultural expectation:
Were they depressed? Lonely? Desperate for the overstimulation by the world wide web? No. But they were in fact, completely different men.
We had actual, real live conversations with whole phrases and not instant message communication with "words" like u, 2morrow, B4, L8tr,brb, and ppudwug2store (Please pick up donuts when you go to store). And we certainly never talked about COD (Call of Duty).
In the spirit of honesty, we did use '"B4" when we were repeating back our diagonal line which won us $89.00 at Bingo. Yes I had to resort to gambling to get that good quality family time. Don't send me the scripture about how I shall not gamble, the bigger risk is not interacting with my kids. Plus God saw fit to have us win so I can't be all wrong, right?
Anyway, 5 days post trip, our boys remain changed. They are exercising every day, practicing their music for hours, interacting in meaningful ways with other human beings face to face and are generally happier people. The video games have been played, but it's been minimal.
So I ask you fellow parenting soldiers, what is your Call of Duty this summer? Maybe just maybe, you are to fearlessly lead your family to and through a land of no internet, no 3G network and no cultural expectation, for a time.
Be warned though, that land can definitely come with no Starbucks attached, as it did for me.
We all gave up a little something, and each of us are better for it.
Long after the last iPhone has died, the spirit of authentic, loving relationship will reign eternal.