The other day my husband and I were driving through Minneapolis when we were about to cross a bridge overlooking my favorite view of the twin cities. He said “get your camera out, this will be a good picture." I got my camera out, got the perfect view, took a few pictures in the 5 second time frame we had to capture it, and then it passed.
I looked at those pictures and thought, these really aren’t that great. The picture did the sight zero justice. I ended up deleting them.
I was smacked in the face with the realization that because I was focused on taking the picture at just the right time, with just the right view and lighting, I missed out on just simply enjoying the view.
That brings me to a very simple truth- sometimes the best way to capture a moment is to just sit in it.
I have found this to be especially true when it comes to children. Let’s be real, if you are a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or anything else, you may find yourself constantly taking pictures of that sweet little human in front of you. My camera roll got out of control when we got our dog. Then we had our baby and I had to get a phone with more storage.
I’ve been able to recognize that the reason I take so many pictures of my son is because I want to capture every single thing he does! I want to have memories of his smile, the size of his toes, the adorable baby rolls.
It's almost like I fear that if I don’t capture these moments, the memories will fade and I won’t remember it.
I think I forget I actually have a brain that has a memory and I’m just relying on pictures to tell me about the beautiful things in my life. I think back to when my parents had me. Sure, they have some photos of my childhood, but I have taken more in my son's first year of life than they have my whole life. Yet, they still have very fond and clear memories of me.
Don’t get me wrong, pictures are an amazing thing. I love them. I’m so grateful for them.
But when we are constantly holding our phones between us and our children (or us and anything else, even beautiful scenery), we may not be connecting with them to the extent we could.
For one thing, children love phones, cameras, really anything with a glowing screen. If they see it pointing at them, they most likely will stop the adorable thing they are doing and try to reach for it. Maybe that's just my kid?
We also aren’t getting to look directly at our child. We are looking through the camera lens, we are trying to get the perfect stand-still picture of our moving, three dimensional, beloved humans.
Like the view on my drive, I find the pictures just don’t do my son justice. They don’t capture him the way my eyes and heart do. And instead of sitting with him, fully and directly engaged, I have invited this third party into the scene (my phone) which I truly believe takes away from the moment.
Here is my point: Our cameras and our phones can become a barrier to our connecting with people and things. If anytime something funny, cute, beautiful, or extraordinary happens, and our first response is always, I gotta get my camera, we may be missing out on just being in the moment.
I’m not saying don’t take pictures. Do it when it makes sense to. But if you goal is to genuinely connect with someone or something, it may help to put your phone down.
Look around, see all the details that your camera can’t catch. Get rid of the barrier and enjoy the view.