Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Screen Free Challenge

This week Francisco propositioned Nathan with a challenge he couldn't refuse. We seem to be raising a house full of gamblers, because we can't help but place wagers on many of life's daily activities. This week's challenge: Give up the screen.

Francisco bet Nathan fifty dollars that he couldn't go one month without screen time. That includes TV, video games, computer, or the beloved parental iPhone. I quickly joined in on this challenge, as I spend most of my day squawking at someone to "turn that damn thing off!" I added fifty dollars of my own, and for Nay the bet was sealed. If he can go until March 3rd without watching anything, he'll get a whopping hundred bucks. Woah.

It's been two days and Nathan is like a tiny alcoholic. "Mom, this is really hard! Does YouTube count? Does it count as a screen if we are in New Jersey?" He's steadfast in his desire to earn such a massive sum of money for his seven year old pockets, so he has yet to break down, and I keep reminding him that the first week will probably be the hardest. This is the first time that he has voluntarily given up his precious screens. I have often cut him off for a week or two at a time, to bring us back to reality and keep him from becoming too glazed over, but somehow this is very different. There is no reminding, threatening, or sneaking around. He truly just wants to win this challenge.

I have been impressed with how many books he has already plowed through, how his week's worth of homework was completed in one night, and how we have done enough science experiments to write a book.  It's slightly painful to have to wake up as early as he does (he used to sneak downstairs and watch TV before I was even conscious), but I like having his full attention and interest back. I hope he can persevere to win the money, and I really hope this makes a change for our family in the long run. I'll let you know.


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