Hallmark asked me to participate in their BlogOut Challenge which is a challenge to turn off technology and turn up the relationships with those around you.
I don’t have a smartphone and I’m not particularly obsessed with checking my email (although I do attempt to keep my inbox at zero as often as possible). But Hallmark is right in calling it a challenge. I still love my laptop and I’ve wondered a time or two if the kids we’re raising are going to go all Amish on us because we spent so much time checking one last Facebook update.
So Mark, Otis and I spent one evening a few weeks ago with nothing requiring electricity going on. No laptops, tv or even music. Phones were…somewhere, and we just enjoyed our little family. To help keep us entertained during the BlogOut, Hallmark sent us Watson the Story Buddy. Let’s be real, Otis is 6 months old and didn’t quite understand the amazingness of a talking raccoon, but Mark and I had a blast with Watson. Kids these days have some pretty nifty toys. But for what it’s worth, Otis seemed to enjoy chewing on Watson’s nose….
Needless to say it was great family time, but it didn’t seem to do what I think Hallmark’s challenge was meant to do. Like, I think that they wanted us to come out from behind our computer screens and hang out with the real person on the other side of that profile picture. Speaking of profile pictures:
Meet the beginning of the Tartar Sauce Club.
Last night, everyone pictured above (minus Benny the pup because he had a prior commitment, I’m sure) showed up for the Tartar Sauce Club. And it was fantastic.
People who had little to nothing in common got together and dreamed.
We shared what we wanted. What was stopping us. We asked questions to bring clarity. We brainstormed ways around perceived obstacles. We paid $18 for a plate from the Whole Foods hot bar.
Ok, that last one was just me.
No one played on a smartphone or checked their Facebook page. Heck, I don’t even know if anyone checked the time. To let you know how engaging it was, Otis wasn’t interested in his bottle until we were on our way home. Have you seen my child? That says something.
The evening was planned, but what happened as we each shared what we hoped for wasn’t planned. I didn’t expect to feel so connected to everyone from someone I’ve known since first grade (Rachel) to someone I met on Saturday (Julia). I didn’t plan on everyone to share so openly. To care so much about a stranger’s dreams. The most beautiful thing, however, was that no one’s dream was shot down. Everyone looked for how that dream could happen, not for why it wouldn’t. That kind of positivity and acceptance is rare. Trust.
Something powerful happened last night. Something we all needed. Something I can’t wait to do again. I think this experience is what Hallmark wanted to remind me of with the BlogOut Challenge.
I don’t know how to end this other than to remind you that people are awesome. Go find some and start dreaming with them.