Do you take lots of pictures of your children? Have you ever considered that there may be a problem with taking pictures of your children?Have you ever considered that taking pictures of your children might not be a good thing? #parenting Click To Tweet
The grassy trail was perfectly groomed. Trees towered on each side of it and off in the horizon, you could see the path open up into a clearing. The sun peeked through the tress and a bit of a breeze made the leaves rustle. She raced through the woods with incredible energy, the large hat on her head flopping up and down with every step. She would occasionally look back over her shoulder to check if we were there but still kept pace, racing against herself, and broadening the distance between us.
I sighed. My little girl is growing up and this is the vision I have of her running ahead… making her way.
A few nights ago my girls were washing their toy dishes. I had set up this activity for them, fully knowing that it would engage both of them. They love being helpful and washing dishes with dish cloths and a sink full of bubbles is the most delightful activity ever.
I stood behind my girls, snapping photos of their hands, the bubbles, and the dishes.
“Mommy, do you want to dry the dishes?” my oldest daughter asked.
“Not right now,” I responded, “I’m taking some pictures.”
STOP. THE. BUS.
Since when did I become so concerned with the documenting of the experience rather than being engaged with it? This realization hurt.
First guilt. Then sorrow. Then repentance.
My daughter turned around and smiled a big toothy grin (that is, after all, what you do when someone is taking a picture of you).
I put down the camera.
“Aren’t you going to take my picture?” she asked.
“I changed my mind, I think I will dry the dishes,” I replied.
I picked up the tea towel and dried the dishes.
As I did so, I took the rest of the pictures with my mind. I watched how my youngest daughter manipulated the dish in her hands and laughed when my oldest daughter tried to smell the bubbles and got soap on her nose.
I enjoyed the moment and savored the memories.
Please don’t take this as a judgement… but sometimes I wonder if taking photos impacts the possibilities of the experience. The connections that can be made. The feelings, the nuances, the beauty of being in the moment, engaged fully and completely with my children.
I want to run through the woods. I want to watch the clouds. I want to swing on the swings. I want to catch the bubbles. I want to squish the play dough. I want to roll down the hills. I want to build the castles and break them down again. I want to be fully and completely engaged. The camera will help me remember the moments but it can’t help me live them.
So for now, I put the camera down. I’m on a mission to take less pictures and make more memories.