Media Detox Day 18: In Flight Mode

Going on a long distance flight without movies is like going to the Cinema without popcorn and coke! Now before you get impressed with me for making a whole trip from US to Africa without the comfort of in-flight movie binging, let me tell you how it all happened.

When I gave my hugs and kisses to my husband and kids before leaving, I received their full blessing to pause my part of the Media Detox in light of the fact that, every mom deserves a break. Right? Besides what’s the point of having all that free time to kill, with no kids asking you “I need the bathroom”, or “are we there yet?”, if you can’t take a chill tablet and watch undisturbed movies  in that confined space on an airplane?Right? Exactly! I knew you would understand. 

Of course I must mention that I did take along with me my favourite decor magazines, George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, as well as a book by Brother Lawrence called The Practice of the presence of God. In all honesty though, I took these along, as my backup plans. What I was really looking forward to was flipping through the menu of new movie releases.

So off I went. Boarded my flight. Got warm fuzzy  vibes at hearing familiar SA accents. Laughed to myself at the loud one in particular, who had to have been from Cape Town, and was thrilled to meet an older flight attendant taking his last trip before retirement after 39 years of service with S.A.A. 

Meal was served. Yummy as ever. Everything was going as smoothly as I had hoped. Until the moment I reclined my seat back, secured my back with the extra pillows from the empty seats next to me, and plugged the headphones in.

Alas, this is where the story because comically ironic. Because of all the places I could have sat, I sat where my own and surrounding headsets would not work. I smiled. Realizing that this was my way back into our Media Detox. 

So for the next over 14hours, I finished George Orwells book, got inspired by color and beautiful spaces in House and Liesure, discovered how Anne Mahlum(previously unknown to me), built a multimillion dollar gym in just three years, and was reminded of my hearts longing to draw ever closer to God.

I arrived after a safe trip and let my family know that I did not pause on the Media Detox, that in fact I was still right in it with them with just three more days to go.

Media Detox 16 and 17: Telling Stories

I remember as a child listening to so many folktales and stories, usually told at night whenever there was a power outage in the neighborhood. All the kids would gather around kerosine lanterns, as mothers and fathers took turns to share their favourite Anansi stories, made unforgettable by the songs that accompanied them, as well as the zeal with which the stories were told.

There was always a moral to the story, some great wisdom to be welcomed or great peril to avoid. I know that these beautiful childhood moments captivated my imagination and gave me a sense of mystery and wonder about the world. I know that these stories made virtues of honesty, generosity, courage and wisdom an attractive and noble pursuit.

We have been telling a lot of stories lately to our kids. Ed loves history and is so good at telling the stories in such a way that you feel you are right there and he is wetting the kids  and my appetite for more.

I have been telling the kids the story of my upbringing in Ghana and it’s been wonderful to see how engaged they have been hearing about my long playful childhood days and my favourite foods. Tonight instead of our usual bedtime story from a book, I told them the story of how their dad and I met, and time before their birth and they asked more questions than they have ever asked about that story. Such a rich time together.

We are not living in Ghana and we are unlikely to have a power outage that will force us to disconnect from all the noise of television and media. But it is my hope and desire that my kids will develop contentment in the simple things like the flickering lights from a candle and the familiar sounds of their parents sharing their stories.

Media Detox Day 15: Myth- “I am not that creative”

I believe that everyone is born creative. To create is the ability to bring something into existence. Something that expresses authenticity and uniqueness. Since we are all so unique and one of a kind, my expression of creativity may differ from another. It’s is love, freedom and rest that will unlock that creativity.

We took a trip to the Smithsonian American Art Museum today and we loved the variety of art forms and expressions on display, each telling a story and preserving times gone by, celebrating life and attempting to capture in a powerful way treasures in American culture.
I loved the simplicity of Gene Davis art for example, lines and interesting interval of colors. I used his work to encourage our one child who claims he is not creative, that creativity is not being perfect but making anything that is your idea and loving the process. Gene Davis work is simple and uncomplicated but refreshing for these reasons.

When we returned home I carved out sometime with our ” I am not creative” child, and while talking to him about being made in the image of God, encouraged him to do anything creative on paper. So we set the atmosphere with some beautiful scents of lavender and peppermint in the background and we had fun creating.

This is what he came up with and he loved every bit of it. 

The other two kids joined us after their storytime with dad and created more unique expressions of creativity. The only rule I gave them during this process was a) have fun doing it and b) every mistake is a new idea

When was the last time you did anything creative? 

Media Detox Day 13 and 14: Perseverance


It’s the weekend and it’s the toughest time  doing without our family movie times and kids unwinding by playing games.

I am reminded of the point in any exercise routine when your muscles appear to be pleading for mercy and it burns so much that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry (I usually laugh). In those moments I usually tell myself that since I made it all the way, leaving without that burning sensation would be a missed opportunity.

That’s what it feels right now on this Detox, rather unpleasant but we shall persevere and complete what we have started.




Media Detox Day 12: Ideas Have Consequences

This post may be slightly controversial to anyone who’s child loves the series of books by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It’s a New York Best Seller and an easy read for many kids. But we have decided to give the books a toss out of our son’s library.

Our oldest read the The Long Haul, for the first time when we arrived in the US. It was full of humor and detailed a family road trip gone wrong. Alas, with each book we have been uncomfortable with the attitudes and ideas that “Greg”, the main character embodies. 

During this Media Detox, I have actually been listening closely and have been more aware of what our kids are reading/ingesting and have asked for them to tell me the gist of the stories they are reading and have on occasion had our oldest enthusiastically read aloud one of the books from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. After much thought and consideration for the kind of attitudes and ideas about himself and others we want our son to grow into, we have decided to give the wimpy kid the boot!

It is a teachable moment for us as a family and we are currently having discussions about the reality that the ideas that we ingest will have consequences for good or for bad. 

We want our kids to be solidly built on good wholesome thoughts that nourish the soul and ignite wonder in them. We only have 24hours each day to make decisions about the kind of banquet of ideas they will be served. We only have these moments while they are still moldable to teach them how to make their own choices bearing the fruit in mind. Although the books are not evil, they are just far better options available for our son, and we are choosing to make way to those!