I have two very active teenage daughters. Between school, extra-curricular activities, doctor's appointments and their social lives, we spend a lot of time in the car. I spend this time returning phone calls, making mental to-do lists or just decompressing from the day. My kids spend their time on their smartphones, hardly talking to each other, to me, or even looking out the window.
It was on one such occasion that I noticed my youngest (age 14) was actually talking to me in the car — about what I don't recall, but I do remember she was engaging me in conversation. You see, her data was turned off due to high usage. YES, we are those parents that turn off their data when their usage gets too high. She had no choice but to talk to me to pass the time.
At first, I remember being skeptical. Why is she talking to me? Does she need to tell me something? Has something bad happened? What does she want?
And then it dawned on me — her data was turned off and she just wanted to talk. About what, I do not remember, but it was an a-ha moment. I asked her point blank if this is why she was talking to me, and we both started laughing. I was in HEAVEN. My teenager was talking to ME!
A few days later both of my girls were in the car along with my husband on a two-hour road trip — still no data! We passed the time with them talking about their high school lives, the music of our generation, what we did for fun when we were in high-school, where we hung out on a Friday nights, and our curfews. It was magical — it was precious family time! Most of the time they made fun of us, but they learned a little bit about their parents that they didn't know.
We're still not cool, but we did have some great quality family time because smartphones were not in the way. This is what going off the grid is all about.