“Smile at Mommy.” Snap. “Say cheese.” Snap. “Look this way.” Snap. “Stay there.” Snap. “Just one more.” Snap. Any of these sound familiar when you think of trying to take (or make) a picturesque moment of your children? I know all to well of both the joys and frustrations of trying to “capture memories” of my little munchkin. My camera and phone are both overloaded with photos that have yet to be printed. Modern technology is both a blessing and curse. It’s fabulous having such quick access to a camera on my phone. Whenever there’s moment worth capturing, I just whip it out and with a click of a button there you have it. But the curse is it can so easily consume us. We’re constantly ready and eager to draw out our phones. We think we should have a picture of EVERYTHING and EVERY MOMENT because we don’t want to forget it. Or we just want to share it on Instagram and Facebook. I admit I’m guilty of both.
Now, don’t get me wrong I love having photos of my little man’s sweet face. And I love being able to flip back through the pictures to see how he’s changed and reminisce on all the different memories. But I was quite convicted about my continual need to “capture the memory” as I watched my neighbor play with her two young kids this week. This is what I noticed…
We had just had our first “real” snow (or at least enough for the kids to get out and play in a little bit) and we had not been out yet. Z was napping and I was upstairs stairs reading. As I was reading I could see kids pulling sleds up the hill and laughing as they attempted to slide back down. Then I noticed my neighbor with her two preschool kids playing in their yard. All were decked out in their snow gear and seemed to be having a blast. The kids were laughing, sliding and rolling down a small hill, running back forth, never seeming to tire. The mom was even sliding down at one point as well. But you know what I didn’t see? A camera. And I watched for quite a while. Not in a creepy, stalkish way, but an intriguing way. You see, she wasn’t focused on capturing the memories of her children. She was focused on making memories with them. They had her full attention. It wasn’t divided between them and a camera.
I was challenged after observing her. Challenged to purposefully seek to MAKE memories with my children, not just take them. Now of course I will still take pictures. I don’t want to completely neglect that. And once we made our way outside to play that day I did take a couple of pictures, but that was all. I limited myself. I spent the rest of the time chasing, pulling, playing and making snowballs with Z.
Intentional, meaningful time with your kids is always important and needed. But it becomes even more impactful and lasting on them as they get older. So make it count. Spend more time with them face to face rather than face to camera. Those memories will speak louder than a picture ever could.