The “Disconnect to Reconnect” Father’s Day Challenge

Six months.

baby and TV remote

As much as I fantasize about being a full time writer, the truth is, I work from 8 AM to 4:30 PM every weekday at “my real job” in a sales office. Writing for Parents.com isn’t all I do for a living, in other words; it’s my part time job.  So it’s only natural for intuitive readers to wonder the question, “How do you have time to write six new posts each week for The Dadabase without neglecting your wife and son?”

It’s easy: I sleep less than most people (usually not more than six hours a night). And I only write when my wife and son are asleep.  From roughly 10 PM to 11:30 PM, then again from 6:00 AM to 7:10 AM everyday, I am always writing.

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That means that when I am at home with Jack and Jill, I literally am at home with Jack and Jill.  My policy is that I don’t turn my laptop on while they are awake. That way, I’m not distracted by the blogosphere where I am an active citizen.  As for me and my house, that’s the only way it could work.

I disconnect (from electronic social media distractions) to reconnect with my family while they are awake.

So when I received a challenge from author and media consultant Phil Cookeasking dads everywhere to disconnect from technology – phones, Facebook, Twitter, email, TV – and spend quality time with their kids for 24 hours this Father’s Day, I knew I could handle it.

My wife and I worship the concept of quality time and giving each other our undivided attention, to the best of our abilities.  We are constantly aware of our need as a married couple with a child to make the most of the little bit of time we have together each day, balancing both family time and time alone as a couple.

So when we do watch TV together, the rule is that it has to be something we both want to watch, like American Idol or The Office.  Or a TV series through Netflix, like Mad Men; which is our current show.  And for the times our son is asleep and we both have a lot of stuff to get caught up on in the Internet world, we do what we have to do but label that time as “personal time.” We fully recognize that time as necessary for us as individuals, but we know full well it is not quality time together; even if we’re sitting next to each other.

Phil CookeThis challenge is inspired by Phil Cooke’s new book Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing (April 2011, Thomas Nelson), which lays out 25 “jolts” to help us set the “reset” button on our priorities and boundaries.  I am interested to see how his book fills in all the blanks and connects the dots regarding the importance of “unplugging” in the name of quality time with family.

So here’s the deal for my male readers.  (Do I actually have any?  As long as I’ve been a daddy blogger, I’ve just always assumed at least 97% of my readers are female.) For the first three men who agree to take the challenge with me to unplug for 24 hours on Father’s Day, I will arrange for a free copy of the book mailed to your house.  Just let me know your name and mailing address by leaving a comment on this post. And as long as you are one of the first three to agree to take the challenge, you get a free book.

I will leave my phone and computer alone on Father’s Day! Will you?

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*Thanks and congrats to the first 3 dads who jumped on board and will now be receiving the free book: Mike Mitchell, Marc Theriault, and Mario Sollecchio!

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  1. by Mike

    On June 10, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I guess I’m in the 3%, but I will take the challenge! I can email you my address.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On June 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Mike, good deal! My email address is nickshell1983@hotmail.com. Thanks for joining me, man. And thanks for being a part of the glorious 3%. I don’t know how you found The Dadabase, but I’m glad you did. Alright, I’ll be on the lookout for your email.

  3. by Marc Theriault

    On June 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Just got hooked on twitter but I think I can do it. I mean it’s only one day, how hard can it be?

    I’m in forte challenge.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On June 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Marc, thanks for joining the cause! That means there’s only one more free book to give away. By the way, I need your mailing address. You can just send me an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com. Also, I’m glad you found The Dadabase!

  5. by Mario Sollecchio

    On June 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Caught up with you on twitter but I’m in! Let’s do it!

  6. by Nick Shell

    On June 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Mario, you make an interesting and ironic point. The very reason you know about this challenge is because of Twitter! And that’s why this will be a challenge, ha ha. Well, hey, thanks for joining! And by the way, you are the 3rd dad to join, so you get the final free book. Just email me your mailing address and I’ll have it shipped to you: nickshell1983@hotmail.com

  7. by Tony

    On June 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Well, I may not get a copy of the book but I will take this challenge anyhow. Great idea for family together time!

  8. by hutch

    On June 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I read about this on phil’s site. I’m in, even though some guys that I’ve explained the idea to don’t get it. and they even have little ones.

  9. by Nick Shell

    On June 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for joining, Tony! And I’m glad your were able to somehow find The Dadabase in the process.

  10. by Nick Shell

    On June 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks Hutch. I can see what you mean- we can be so used to our technology dependance and everyday distractions that we don’t even realize it. By the way, glad you found The Dadabase!

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