If you did not catch Oprah's January 12 episode, you may have read or heard about the Johnston, Iowa family that appeared. The show, titled A Family Stripped Down: Peter Walsh Moves In, highlighted America's obsession with a high-tech, fast-paced, busy lifestyle that focuses more on physical possessions than relationships.

Some of you know that I am a big fan of Organizing Consultant Peter Walsh, and he did not disappoint me with this project. Peter lived and worked with the Berry family for 7 days to declutter their home and their lives.  The rules for the week included:
 
1. No cell phones or texting
2. No electronics, including computers, email, tv, iPods or video games
3. Prepare and eat healthy meals together (no microwave use)
4. Clean and organize the house
5. Hug and say "I love you" to each family member each day
 
The results were interesting and moving.  The Berry family admitted a drastic difference in the way the family related to each other, and the new appreciation they had for one another.  Following are my top take-aways from the show:
  • Your home is a metaphor for life. If you aren't connected to your home, you cannot connect with your family. You need to feel peace of mind, security and happiness in your home. Keep it clutter-free and organized. Get rid of those things that are not important to you.
  • When asked if the family went through "cell phone withdrawal" or "texting withdrawal", both the father and teenage son stated that it really wasn't that hard, and that they actually enjoyed the peace and time to focus on family.
  • Just because you are busy does not mean you are doing good things. Step back from the daily routine and look at the big picture. Is this really what you want to be doing with your life?
  • Stop allowing your kids to self-parent (for example, watching tv too often instead of spending time doing activities together). Children want parents to be in control.  The Berry's noted a large change in their 5 year old's behavior and confidence level after only 1 week. 
  • Communication among family members is more important than anything. One monthly date night with your spouse is better than a 2 week vacation each year.
  • Be where you are! Be in the moment!
After spending the week with Peter's rules, the family adjusted their rules so that they would work for them on a continued, daily basis.  For example, #1 became "no cell phones or texting between 6 and 9pm." Any family can take the same rules and fit them to their personalities and age ranges.  Why not challenge yourselves to "disconnect from technology" for a week and spend time reconnecting with your loved ones?  You may be surprised at the results!
 
For more information on the show, visit www.Oprah.com.

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