This must be the week of guest posts (I have one I intended to post on Wed, but am pushing until next week – apparently I too am in lazy-summer mode. :) Anyway…  I just love what my friend Margie Sims sent me recently and I have to share. Margie is a writer, blogger and mom of ten (!!) with unique perspective to comment on life from every angle.

Her post came as if on cue. I thought about Margie’s screen saver when I was chatting with Kerby Anderson last week on his terrific program, Point of View. He referenced new research showing that people “preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts.” Crazy … but true. It’s hard to think we so desperately want to avoid mental idleness that we would opt for physical pain over moments of nothingness.

But, as noted in a super interesting NYT article on the topic, researchers have also found:

Idle mental processing encourages creativity and solutions because imagining your problem when you aren’t in it is not the same as reality,” said Jonathan Smallwood, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of York, in England. “Using your imagination means you are in fact rethinking the problem in a novel way.”

Benefits of a quiet mind don’t stop there. The articles and research barely mention the fact that being still is a critical component in one’s spiritual life. The Lord God himself said through the prophet Isaiah, “Be still and know that I am God.” Do you want to know God? … Looks like “still” plays a role.

So – engaging in and training the ability to be mentally idle is important. But how can we do that in our busy, activity-obsessed, 100% mentally occupied society?

Marci’s post prompted me to consider the gift she’s giving her kids, and herself, by screen-saving. It might be challenging and tiny bit whine-infested, but seems worth it in the end. What do you think?

Thanks, Marci for sharing … and thanks for walking the road with me.




Outside.  It’s how I grew up.

As far as I remember, in fact, my mother never had to make me go out and play.  Not once.  Instead, she had to make me come in.

Is it just me, or has anyone else had to make their kids play outside this summer?

Here’s the scenario at my house.  Twice a week I enforce a screen-free day.  No computer, TV or video games.  Zip. Zero. Nada.

Some of the kids have severe withdrawals, others barely miss it–but it is agony for most of us.

“I have just been sitting on my bed for over an hour.”

“Can I log into my Facebook–only for a minute?”

“I need to check the status on something I ordered.”

No. No.  And No.  No screens means no screens.

Two weeks of summer down, ten more to go.

I realize it is more challenging at our house.  Hope is two and a half and, thankfully, still takes a solid nap. This means we are home for that chunk of the day, and they have to be quiet.  (I relish the quiet, but some of my kids don’t share my sentiment.)

Boredom is good for kids, really. It makes them self reliant.  On screen free days this week,  for instance, mine have rip-sticked, played Uno and Bananagrams, thrown the Frisbee and produced some home-made art work.  And now ten year old Dorothy is even writing a play.

“Made it through another screenless nap time,” 13 year old Cory declared this week, throwing his arms up in victory.  Makes a mother proud.

The spell of the screen is a sad, sickening trend in this culture.  Kids miss so much.  And though summer’s not what it use to be, I refuse to surrender.  To borrow a brilliant term I recently learned, I am going to Mom-Up.

I am the screen saver,  determined to save my kids from the screen.  Won’t you join me?

“…a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15b

Margie Sims is a writer and speaker. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she survives life’s hurricanes by keeping the faith and the funny in life with ten kids. Follow her blog at

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