I’ve heard a lot of chatter lately about how modern parents spend too much time behind the camera and not enough time sharing moments with their families.
I don’t think I’m particularly guilty of this: I’m more likely to forget my camera exists than spend too much time using it. But even so, I admit that at the first sign of a memorable moment, my phone often comes out of the purse and the camera app goes on.
But I think this particular complaint about modern parenting might be misinformed. Sure, I know there are those parents who actually stage their memories, never getting out from behind the shutter and even, sometimes, making their children re-enact scenes as if life is a photo shoot instead of just, you know, life.
In my experience, though, those parents and those instances are few and far between. For most of us, most of the time, our cameras come out quickly, shoot a picture or two or five in rapid succession, then go back in the purse…while we go back to living and sharing memories with our kids.
And in some ways, I do feel a little sad that the same technology wasn’t available to my Mom when I was little, in the late 70s and 80s.
We had a series of decent 35mm cameras, sure, but film was expensive, developing was inconvenient, and my mom was a busy woman. There are very few pictures of the two of us together, and very, VERY few of us kids just living or experiencing a moment.
In those days, the average parent posed the kids by a monument or arranged them in front of the scenery, cajoled the obligatory smile, and then snapped the photo. After all, with only 24 pictures to the average roll of film, who – besides actual photographers, mind you – was going to experiment with action shots, mom-and-kid selfies or 2-3 “just in case” shots of the same pose?
Nowadays we have a lot more freedom to experiment, to take multiple shots and to photograph our kids in motion, without incurring costs or having to take a film canister to the drugstore and hope for the best.
And while I don’t regret how present my mom was able to be without the technology we grapple with today, I do wonder how many moments of my mom’s and mine – like this one my daughter and I recently shared – have been lost forever to time.
Technology may pose some challenges to modern parents, but I don’t think the ability to take better and quicker photos and share them on-the-go is one of them. Like any other advancement – from the light bulb to the car – it’s something we need to learn how to incorporate into our lives in a way that works, maybe changing the “rules” of our mothers’, grandmothers’, and great-grandmothers’ lives a little as we go.
It’s always tempting to jump on the “modern parents have XYZ wrong!” bandwagon, but things do change. And just because something was always done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best way.
I, for one, am glad that I – a not-very-skilled and not-very consistent amateur photographer – have been able to build up a nice collection of memories that I can keep in my pocket, share with family, or send out into the world any time I want.
What kind of moments are you glad you’re able to capture via today’s technology – that your own mom might not have been able to?
Check out the rest of my trip to the carousel with Clara using the free Disney Story App!
And be sure to check out the app - it’s free and fun to use.