People that know me well can tell you that I get really irritated by the addiction to technology that is running rampant in the world these days. I am not immune to this either. I have a facebook account (not twitter or instagram though), I have a smart phone, and I love the convenience of texting instead of having to call people. I have personally never really been that into video games, but I am a Word with Friends addict. You get the picture.
I do however, get really disappointed when at family gatherings, everyone is fixated on their electronic devices instead of actually interacting as a family. It makes me sad when kid’s these days don’t know what board games are. I really want my kids to know how to use their imaginations, not just an ipad. And I don’t want them to miss out on the things because they are focused on the world through an electronic lens.
I also love photography. I was introduced to the art form by a wonderful friend, my freshman year in college. I loved learning how to use a manual camera (film back then) and the darkroom. And while photography, like everything else, is now more technology based as, I do still love it. Something about capturing a moment in time that tells a story, sparks a memory or evokes an emotion. I regularly have my camera with me. For me, it mostly enhances the experiences I have. It is a different way of looking at the world around me. But, this past week, I have made it a point to leave both my camera and my phone behind and really try to live in the moment.
I took my girl’s to the local YMCA last week and we spent a short time playing in the baby pool. It was so much fun, really focusing on them. I helped them rescue a lady bug, search for “turtles” in the water and learn how to keep their balance in the slightly deeper waters of the baby pool. I snuggled my youngest in her towel when she got too cold and when my oldest slipped and her head dipped under the water, I was her cheerleader as she got herself back up and decided to be proud of herself for being okay even though she was scared. I didn’t once think about capturing the moment on my camera phone or posting it to facebook. I was simply there, in that moment, with them. And I loved every moment.
About a month ago, I was at a local park with my husband and the girls. There was a boy, around 8 years old, who ended up playing with our girls for a while. His Dad was never far away from him physically, but he might as well have been. I watched this boy ask his father to watch him, come stand by him, and even tell him he loved him at one point. The father never looked up from his phone. His response to his son’s declaration of love was “Uh huh, yea.” It broke my heart. All I wanted to do was slap the phone out of the man’s hand and tell him all of the wonderful things I had seen his son do while playing with us. I wanted to yell at him and tell him that before he knew it, that kid’s childhood would be gone. I know that as a parent, we all need a break, but we also need to sometimes leave the technology at home.
So, my challenge to everyone reading this is to take even a small moment to turn off the phone, put away the laptop, put down the camera or camera phone. The important thing is not that world of facebook and twitter know how wonderful your life and kids are. The important thing is that your life is wonderful… and that you enjoy it. Don’t miss it.