Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm living, not documenting

My twitter and blog friend Andrea from From Playgrounds to Politics posted a blog post the other day that rang pretty true. A lot of parents bury their heads in the technology in the name of  "creating memories". That's not how you create memories.

In her post, Andrea writes:

I took the kids to the museum today.
Nope, I’m not going to post pictures of the entire afternoon, because I didn’t even bring my camera.
Nope, I didn’t post a Facebook Status and live-tweet the whole time about what a great time we had, because I didn’t even bring my cellphone or iPad.
Nope, I’m not blogging about what we did all day, because I enjoyed the day with the kids without thinking about how I was going to make this fit into a blog post.
Nope, I’m not going to post super-funny quotes and anecdotes about what my kids said and did all day; not because there wasn’t a bunch, but I’m going to savor those just for myself.
As I frolicked through the museum with my kids and let them lead the way, I played with them, I engaged them, I watched them from the sidelines.  I enjoyed the moment without watching them obstructed from behind a camera lens; so afraid of missing the moment that I forgot to actually enjoy the moment happening.  I didn’t sit there off in the corner like countless parents that I did see say, “yuh-huh, okay” to their excited kids as they could barely look up from what was ever so captivating on the glow of their phone screen.  I mean, I’m sure their emails and their Facebook’s and all the live-tweeting about how great a time they were having “playing” with their kids was so important, but today I wasn’t going to parent from behind a screen, and I had a blast.  So did my kids.
We learn about humanity and can predict behaviors from history and from statistics and from experience.  But we don’t have statistics about what our kids will grow up like with a generation of parents who can barely look at them because their cellphones are much more important than they are.  We can’t tell from history what a society of kids will become when raised by masses of parents that can’t seem to put their cameras down to watch their kids explore a museum or play soccer without videotaping it or check texts before they check their diapers.  It’s not like our parents didn’t take pictures of us and talk on the phones, but with the ease of the mobile devices and smart-phones, it seems like it is multiplied by a thousand.  I go to my kid’s school concert and it’s like the paparazzi in the aisles don’t want to miss a move their subjects make.  Are they even listening to their kids sing?  You go to the museum and it’s not just the pictures: it’s the pictures, then it’s the reposing because that one didn’t come out great, and we have a digital camera that you can check the image, so let’s take a million, and hold on just a sec- instagram is slow.. and on and on.
This is not fun for your kids, I promise.
Sometimes it’s nice just to not bring the technology along and feel the freedom of not being interrupted by cellphone calls and posing for the perfect picture and making sure my followers know what and where we are doing and pausing to get that Foursquare check-in logged before we head over to the carousel.
I promise you, when you go to the lobby, they will have a working phone available for you in case of an emergency.  I promise you, our parent’s had things on their mind all the time, but they didn’t have to text everyone they knew about it immediately, and somehow they seemed to manage okay.  I promise you, you will remember playing with your kids even if you don’t have a flip-book full of digital pictures of your kid’s every move that you probably won’t even print out anyway.  I promise you, your kids will enjoy it when they tell you something cool and you actually respond with sincere joy and interest.
I really like the John Lennon Quote,”Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Well, it’s true.  You know what else rings, true:
“Life is what happens when you’re stuck behind your smart phone.” - Me.

So, so true. 

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