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3 Reasons I Put the Camera Down to Spend Time With My Kids

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Being a teacher, the summers have always been an important time to recharge and rejuvenate. Now that I have children, that time is even more valuable. It allows for time to reconnect with family, get off our schedule, and enjoy the everyday moments we don’t always get a chance to enjoy.

This summer, I have made a conscious effort to step from behind the lens, put the phone down, and truly savor these moments. That isn’t to say I didn’t take pictures, because of course I did. However, it wasn’t the very first thing I did while enjoying an activity or visiting a new place with the kiddos. While placing my picture taking on hold, I have learned three things.

1. When you are behind a lens, you might capture memories but you lose moments.

The activity, the place, or the ice cream flavor is captured, but the quick movements or facial expressions can be lost. I’ve had several instances when I was fidgeting with my phone trying to get the right setting, that I missed a funny face or sideways smile. I have noticed when I busy myself with capturing the memory, I am truly not in the moment.

2. Your children are watching.

In this technology driven world, children are immersed more than ever in apps and devices. There have been a couple times (admittedly, more than once is embarrassing) that I have been playing with my kids and I have been asked, “Mommy, phone down!” Yikes, if that isn’t a wake up call. Scrolling through emails or reading a social media story is so easy with our technology today. This ease comes at what cost though? When my children see this, I am sending the message that what I am doing with them is not quite as important as what is on my device. Since children are always watching us, regardless if we know it or not, they can pick up the idea that a device needs to be part of daily life. I believe otherwise, and that is the message I want to send.

3. It’s OK to be selfish.

Oftentimes, I take pictures thinking that since family and friends aren’t with us, they would love to see my children enjoying special moments. While true, I have decided it is OK to be selfish! Some moments I want to be just between my family and I. I want no record of the event other than in my mind and heart. I think of when I was younger and how social media wasn’t around to share life immediately. My parents still took pictures, and many of them are in old albums in a closet, but I know without a doubt, that those memories are held in the hearts of my mom and dad. I think memories stored here are the best ones!

So I will continue to take pictures, share with family and friends and post on social media. I will also be more conscious of the moments we make, and savor our “only for us” memories. These are the moments that in the future I believe will be most valuable.

Getty image by Yue_

Originally published: August 10, 2018
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