Do this during dinner tonight

Who do you love more, your phone or your family?

Easy answer, but consider the following seemingly arbitrary numbers: 46. 81. 0.

46: times per day the average adult checks their phone.

81: percent of Americans who, according to Time, admit to looking at their phone during dinner.

0: the amount of life-changing emails or Facebook posts you’re likely to miss if you stay off your phone for an hour to share some uninterrupted quality time with your loved ones.

So, when you add up all of that, what do you get? Well, a pretty obvious 2018 resolution.

But how does one actually achieve more face time (not FaceTime) and less screen time during family meals? A game, that’s how.

The Stack

We call it The Stack. Anyone can play it, and like all great games (checkers, chess, Guess Who?), the rules are simple:

  1. Before a meal, everyone puts the one object they’re most attached to – could be a tablet or a toy or that aforementioned phone, into a tidy pile at the center of the table.
  2. Temporarily free of your iShackles, you’ll listen attentively, engage completely and, suddenly, find yourself making meaningful conversation with those around you.
  3. As the meal progresses, phones will vibrate and ring. You’ll be tempted to go for the stack. Don’t. Because whoever caves and reaches into the phile first, loses.

(See, simple.)

What could you play for? Well, if we’re talking about something like Sunday night family dinner, the first person to touch the stack might have to clear the table. Or, if you’re out with friends, the loser picks up the check or buys a round of drinks (that should sufficiently set the stakes).

The Stack works best when you tailor the rules specifically for your group. Some modifications we like:

  • Adding a five-minute “halftime” where everyone is free to dig into the stack to check for urgent missed calls or messages.
  • Try playing The Stack during a family movie night. Winner picks what you watch next time.
  • Stretch the game out over the course of a few weeks or even months. The person with the most total wins gets to select the destination of the next family vacation.

If you’re playing the game right, everyone should be winning, your family time can be more fulfilling and this particular 2018 will just sort of take care of itself.

Okay, now maybe stop reading this on your phone, and get back to regularly scheduled life.

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Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC 042017 [OK1] and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas, 100139527.

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