Do you ever just stop to think in this ever technologically reliant world, “What am I missing while buried behind this screen?” We parents can sometimes get so caught up in taking photographs or videos of our children that we forget to get involved. Sure, it is fun to be able to watch baby’s first steps over and over again and share it with family and friends. Yet, something is missing when watching it on a phone or on the T.V. How many times have you shown a video to someone and they said, “Wow, I wish I could have been there?” How many times do you look at your own videos and say, “I wish I could go back and relive that again”?
You see, when you capture something through the lens of technology, there is a disconnect with what is actually happening in the moment. You want to go back to that moment because you actually missed experiencing it with your own senses. Imagine yourself in the shoes of a little one taking those first, unsteady steps. You look to mom or dad for reassurance, but blocking his or her face is this object that always seems to be in hand. That’s not what you would want to see! You would want to see daddy’s eyes light up, mommy’s big smile, and hear their words of encouragement! You would want both of their arms stretched out wide to catch you if you fell! Too often, we say the words, “Wait, let me get this on video” instead of just living the life that is unfolding in front of us. Life shouldn’t have to wait for the press of a “record” button.
This life lesson came from first hand experience at a most unexpected time from the most unexpected person. From even before she was born, my daughter loved to dance. She danced in the womb. She kicked her legs emphatically before she could even crawl. She still loves to dance (and now sing) almost constantly. You would have to work really hard to get her to stop focusing on the dance she was doing. One day, she was at it again and out came the phone to record the magic. As this little two and a half year old girl spun around, she noticed the phone, noticed her daddy looking at what she was doing on the screen, stopped, and with a big motion of her hands she said, “Daddy, put down the phone!” She wanted to dance, but she wanted her daddy to watch her dance and dance with her. Our kids are young for too short a time to watch them grow through a camera lens. That doesn’t mean throw out your phones, cameras, and video cameras. But don’t simply be a bystander in your kid’s lives. Don’t make capturing what they do more important than discovering who they are.